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U.S.-India Workshop Explores Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement

New York, Sep 12, 2008

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), in cooperation with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), convened a day-long workshop yesterday entitled Leveraging the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement. Focused on facilitating Indo-U.S. trade, the event was held at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi.

Co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) International Trade Administration and the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the workshop brought together leaders from the standardization and trade regulation communities to explore best practices in support of international trade.

Throughout the course of the event, speakers and attendees alike stressed the strategic importance of voluntary consensus standards for companies looking to open doors to new target markets and strengthen the links in the global supply chain.

Mr. Anil Mukim, joint secretary of the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and Mr. Dale Tasharski, deputy counselor for commercial affairs with the U.S. Embassy-New Delhi, opened the program by noting the importance of the Indo-U.S. trade relationship and the recent growth in exports between the two countries. Mr. Mukim and Mr. Tasharski also stressed the value of good regulatory practice and a strong understanding of the WTO/TBT agreement.

What is the WTO/TBT Agreement?
The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) was created in 1995 to ensure that technical regulations, standards, and testing and certification procedures do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade.

To read the text of the TBT agreement, click here.

Additional presentations by the Indian Ministry of Commerce and the U.S. DoC explored the key principles of the WTO/TBT agreement from the public-sector perspective, while ANSI and BIS speakers examined the agreement from the private-sector perspective.

During the second half of the event, an industry roundtable discussion brought together representatives from private sector, including ANSI members Underwriters Laboratories, ASME, and Microsoft. Representing Indian industry, the Indian Chemical Council, the Telecom Engineering Centre, and BIS provided insight on the pharmaceutical/chemical, telecom, and electrical/electrotechnical sectors, respectively.

Building upon the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between ANSI, CII, and BIS in December 2007 [see related article], workshop participants were also treated to a preview of, which now includes content on India’s standards, regulatory, and conformance (SRC) systems. Dr. R K Bajaj, head of the BIS international relations department, provided background information on the cooperation between ANSI, CII, and BIS, as well as an overview of India’s contribution to the Portal. The launch of the U.S.–India Standards Portal will be formally announced at a later date.

For more information on ANSI’s international activities in the Asia Pacific Region, click here.

 Homeland Defense and Security Standardization Collaborative