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Congressional Briefing and Expo Explores the U.S. Standards and Conformance System

New York, Oct 16, 2009

On October 2, 2009, representatives of nine leading standards organizations gathered on Capitol Hill to introduce Congressional staff to the U.S. private sector–led approach to standards. The event, which was attended by more than 60 staffers and other interested stakeholders, demonstrated how standards and conformity assessment activities help companies meet their global needs, and how the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA – Public Law 104-113) impacts the U.S. standardization system.

Held in the Cannon House Office Building’s Cannon Caucus Room in Washington, D.C., the hour-long event featured presentations by three high-profile speakers: S. Joe Bhatia, president and CEO of the the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), spoke on The U.S. Standards System. Jim Thomas, president of ASTM International, followed with remarks on How Standards Impact Trade. Finally, Gordon Gillerman, chief of standards services as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), addressed The Public/Private Partnership.

“Today, standards and conformity assessment play an integral role in everyday life, but few people stop to think about their tremendous impact,” explained Mr. Bhatia in his remarks. “There are as many different kinds of standards and accompanying compliance activities as there are different industries, products, services. At the simplest level, if you have screwed in a light bulb, withdrawn cash from an ATM, or filled your car’s gas tank, then you have seen first-hand how standardization works to make our lives safer and more efficient.”

The event was sponsored by ASTM International, ANSI, Underwriters Laboratories (UL), SAE International, ASME, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), and the American Petroleum Institute (API).

Each sponsor displayed a booth detailing their organization’s activities and role in the standards community. These booths highlighted how standards and conformity assessment programs help to increase safety and improve overall quality of life for Americans.

Want to learn more about the NTTAA?

Read the ANSI Reporter Special Feature on the Act and its implementation.

Congressional staff in attendance also learned about the NTTAA, which requires government agencies to use privately developed standards whenever possible. This saves taxpayer dollars, reduces duplication of effort, maximizes the use of well-established expertise within industry, academia, and government, and gives all stakeholders a voice in the standards development process.

“On behalf of all of us at ANSI, I was pleased to collaborate with these key standards and conformance organizations to introduce our system to the staff on Capitol Hill,” said Mr. Bhatia. “Attendees showed a great interest in the standards system and spent time visiting the booths of all of the sponsoring organizations who exhibited. I believe that these staffers now have a better understanding of the value of voluntary consensus standards and private sector-led conformity assessment solutions as tools for government.”

Learn how strategic standardization is helping companies build their bottom line