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ANSI Hosts Second Conference on U.S. Leadership in ISO and IEC


New York, Nov 29, 2005

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) held its second conference for U.S. leaders in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) earlier this month in Phoenix, Arizona.

“We built upon the success of our first conference, held last year in Scottsdale,” explained Dr. Mark Hurwitz, ANSI president and chief executive officer. “The purpose of this event is to provide a networking opportunity for the officers of U.S. Technical Advisory Groups, U.S. experts who hold leadership positions in ISO and IEC committees, and ANSI staff. By coming together on a regular basis, we can share best practices and tactics and help to promote interaction and the consideration of technical developments and policies that cross industry sectors. We want to formulate a coordinated approach to strategic engagement in both ISO and IEC.”

Convened on November 9, the two-day conference was moderated by Belinda Collins of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); Dr. Collins also serves as chair of the ANSI ISO Council. She opened the conference by welcoming several guests, including ISO vice-president (technical management) and chair of the ISO Technical Management Board (TMB) Ziva Patir; IEC vice-president and chair of the IEC Standardization Management Board (SMB) Frank K. Kitzantides; as well as the ISO secretary general, Alan Bryden.

Among various panel discussions and presentations, a portion of the agenda focused on the emergence of the People's Republic of China as a significant player in the world economy. Henry Levine, deputy assistant secretary of Commerce for Asia and the Pacific discussed various ways of working positively with the Chinese toward common goals. Additional discussions included a review of opportunities to engage and work cooperatively with Chinese delegates in ISO and IEC standards-setting committees.

Concurrent breakout sessions delved deeper into discussion of some of the key issues currently being addressed by the ISO TMB and the IEC SMB. These topics included the global relevance policies deployed by both organizations; the relations of their technical committees with international intergovernmental organizations, and collaboration between technical committees in a context of growing convergence of technologies. Also discussed was the impact on standards-setting as new major economies emerge and become involved in international activities.

Dr. Hurwitz moderated an open discussion session in which conference participants were invited to raise any comments and concerns not already addressed during the conference with a panel of ANSI and USNC leaders. This provided an opportunity for ANSI to hear the interests of the target audience while also building an appreciation of the Institute’s role in relation to ISO and IEC.

“The sharing of best practices for increasing participation and involvement of U.S. stakeholders in global standards-setting” was a primary focus of the event, explained Dr. Hurwitz. “We were very successful in achieving this goal.”

Robert Noth, chair of the ANSI International Policy Committee, drew the event to a close by summarizing the discussions and points of agreement, noting that relevant items would be carried forward with ANSI and the U.S. National Committee of the IEC for appropriate action.

Conference proceedings are available online at www.ansi.org/events or by contacting Steven Cornish, ANSI international policy program director (212.642.4969; scornish@ansi.org).

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