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International Standards Organizations Sign MoU with XML Consortia Group

IEC, ISO, ITU and UN/ECE Invite OASIS to Join Cooperative Agreement

New York, Feb 11, 2002

In an announcement issued today by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Systems (OASIS), the XML* consortium reported that it joined a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Electronic Business (e-business) with four international standards organizations in an effort to coordinate the development of global standards in this area.

The founding members of the MoU represent four of the world's leading standards-setting bodies. Of the four, ANSI is the U.S. national member body to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a non-governmental, worldwide federation of national standards bodies and, via the U.S. National Committee, a member of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), an international standards and conformity assessment body for all fields of electrotechnology. In addition, the Institute's International Committee coordinates U.S. policy and positions with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a worldwide organization that brings governments and industry together to coordinate the establishment and operation of global telecommunication networks and services (ITU). These three groups as well as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) invited OASIS to pool its resources toward promoting the interoperability of e-business standards worldwide.

Cynthia Fuller, chair of the MoU Management Group, described the motivation for inviting OASIS to join the agreement: "The consortium's work with UN/CEFACT (United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business) on electronic business XML (ebXML), the specifications that provide an infrastructure for e-business information exchange, is just one example of the many contributions OASIS continues to make towards interoperability." Dr. Carol Cosgroves-Sacks, director of UNECE Trade Division, concurred with Fuller, "UNECE appreciates the contributions OASIS members bring to the standards process, and we look forward to continuing and broadening our cooperative relationship under the MoU."

By establishing a coordination mechanism under a unique cooperative model, the MoU signatories hope to produce mutually supportive standards required in business transactions, such as data interchange and interoperability, as well as product design and manufacturing to meet the urgent needs of both industry and end-users.

"The purpose of the MoU is to minimize the risk of divergent and competitive approaches to standardization, avoid duplication of efforts and confusion amongst users," said Houlin Zhao, director of ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. For ITU, one goal of the MoU is the ability to share agendas between ITU technical groups and OASIS technical committees "to promote convergence where appropriate and advance the interests of the marketplace at-large."

IEC general secretary, Aharon Amit, added, "OASIS joins the MoU in advancing a work program that is tailored to bring all types of information exchange development within a single framework." "[The MoU]," noted ISO secretary-general, Dr. Lawrence D. Eicher, "lays the foundation for a healthy future development of e-commerce to the benefit of all stakeholders."


OASIS, a not for profit, global consortium, drives the development, convergence and adoption of e-business standards. Members themselves set the OASIS technical agenda using a lightweight, open process expressly designed to promote industry consensus and unite disparate efforts.

Established in 1947, ISO's mission is to promote the development of standardization and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to developing cooperation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity.

Founded in 1906, the IEC is the global organization that prepares and publishes international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. The IEC was founded as a result of a resolution passed at the International Electrical Congress held in St. Louis, MO in 1904. Its membership consists of more than 60 participating countries, including all the world's major trading nations and a growing number of industrializing countries.

ITU is responsible for standardization, coordination and development of international telecommunications including radiocommunications, as well as the harmonization of national policies.

Established in 1947, UNECE is one of five regional commissions of the United Nations. Its primary goal is to encourage greater economic cooperation among its member States. It focuses on economic analysis, environment and human settlements, statistics, sustainable energy, trade, industry and enterprise development, timber and transport.

ANSI Focus on Services Standards