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Commerce Department Releases Results of Standards Initiative Aimed at Reducing Trade Barriers

Washington, DC, May 18, 2004

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) welcomed a report announced today by Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans that includes recommended steps to reduce standards-related trade barriers and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Commerce Department’s standards-related programs and policies. The secretary called for broader collaboration across government and with U.S. industry to prevent technical obstacles that impede sales of U.S. exports.

“One thing is clear, the market benefits from fair and equitable standards,” Evans said to an audience of industry and standards community representatives. “This is an issue we must continue to work on with diligence.”

The new report, Standards and Competitiveness - Coordinating for Results, is the result of an initiative Evans launched in March 2003, with assistance from the International Trade Administration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which began a comprehensive assessment of Commerce Department activities and included the input of a broad cross-section of U.S. industry and government.

“As the coordinator of the voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system, ANSI welcomes the Department’s initiative, and looks forward to assisting in implementing its recommendations,” said ANSI Board of Directors chairman George W. Arnold.

Many of the report’s more than 50 recommendations are in alignment with ongoing ANSI efforts, including fostering interactions with China and with other foreign governments, and promoting the inclusion of standards curricula in engineering and business schools.

“ANSI also appreciates the Department’s support of our effort to update the National Standards Strategy. This document was originally developed three years ago to articulate a set of principles underlying an effective U.S. standards system, and has since been met with great success and support,” said ANSI president and CEO Mark W. Hurwitz.

The release of the results of Secretary Evan’s initiative coincide with the first meeting of the National Standards Strategy Committee, which will be conducting a comprehensive evaluation and update of the NSS document over the next year.

The NSS establishes a framework that can be used by all interests including companies, government, nongovernmental organizations, standards developers and consumers, to further improve U.S. competitiveness abroad while continuing to provide strong support for domestic markets. It was developed over a two-year period by representatives from the public- and private-sectors; its development was coordinated by the American National Standards Institute.

Evans called on the nation’s manufacturers, other domestic businesses, and U.S.-based standards organizations to review the report and to advise the Department on priorities for follow-up efforts to further the goals of the standards initiative.

View the Report and Secretary Evans's comments here, or download the report as .pdf.

ANSI Nanotechnology Standards Panel