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Standards Alliance Holds Conference on Technical Barriers to Trade in Colombia

U.S. and Colombian Experts Discuss Best Practices for Standardization

05/26/2015

As part of its work under the Standards Alliance program, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recently partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Facilitando Comercio – in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism (MinCIT) and the national standards body of Colombia, ICONTEC – to carry out a May 12-13 workshop in Bogota on the World Trade Organization (WTO) Code of Good Practice for the Preparation, Adoption and Application of Standards. The two-day event was attended by over 60 people and brought together public- and private-sector experts for an exchange on standardization and how it can help reduce technical barriers to trade.

Following opening remarks by Santiago Angel Jaramillo, director of regulation at MinCIT, experts from the U.S. and Colombia shared perspectives on specific elements of the WTO Code of Good Practice. Included as Annex 3 of the WTO’s Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), the Code lays out provisions for standardizing bodies within WTO members, describing best practices that help ensure that standards are not prepared, adopted, or applied with the effect of creating unnecessary obstacles to international trade. Substantive provisions of the Code include such practices as reliance on and participation in international standards activities; avoiding duplication and achieving consensus; aiming for the development of performance- rather than design-based standards; publishing work programs for standards; and engaging in public review and comment.

Among WTO members, the Code is considered obligatory for central government standards bodies. In Colombia, ICONTEC has accepted the Code as it applies to Colombian national standards. In the U.S., ANSI has voluntarily accepted the Code on behalf of its 230 accredited standards developers. ANSI accreditation means that a standards developer adheres to procedures that govern the consensus process, set forth in the ANSI Essential Requirements.

Representing a mix of public- and private-sector expertise, the U.S. delegation included representatives of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), A2LA, ASTM International, Cisco Systems, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), and Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

The Standards Alliance work plan with Colombia includes future exchanges and opportunities to build on the topics discussed at the workshop. Workshop materials, including the agenda, presentations, and photos, are available on the Standards Alliance website. For more information, please contact standardsalliance@ansi.org.

The Standards Alliance is a joint ANSI–U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) initiative that supports global cooperation and capacity building in the areas of standards development, technical regulations, good regulatory practice, and conformity assessment.

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