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New IEC President to focus on co-ordination and co-operation

IEC press release

New York, Jan 10, 2005

Renzo Tani, a former CEO of Siemens SpA in Italy, began his three-year term as IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) president on 1 January 2005 with the aim of developing closer ties to industry, organizations and governments.

Tani says the IEC is an organization with a big task and a large commitment working in a difficult environment. Because there is a growing number of countries participating in electrotechnology and telecommunications around the world, harmonizing all points of view is increasingly difficult. Yesterday’s leaders, Tani says, now have to share with new players.

“Every international organization faces similar challenges to those facing the IEC: to harmonize possible conflicts between a growing number of players,” Tani says. He compares the World Trade Organization to the IEC in the way that both organizations are increasing the number of active members. He says that since there is a relation between standards on the one hand and world trade on the other, WTO objectives intersect at certain points with those of the IEC. In these cases, he says, the IEC needs to increase its co-operation with these organizations to see where possible relations lie and how to co-ordinate points of view. Here, Tani is drawing on his experience as President of ANIE (the Italian Federation of Electrotechnical and Electronic Companies), where co-ordinating multiple viewpoints is a required skill.

Tani also says that while IEC International Standards are voluntary, governments are playing an ever-greater role across borders to establish basic requirements relating to safety and interoperability within regions. The trend he sees is toward harmonization to make voluntary standards into mandatory norms. “We must consider the need to take into account what’s happening in technical terms at regional levels, and make sure that we co-operate with regional organizations in a manner that maximizes the adoption and use of IEC International Standards.”

For Tani, industry – particularly in the form of small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – has the most to gain from IEC work. While multinational corporations (MNCs) can often go it alone, SMEs have fewer resources to do so. For MNCs, he sees the IEC in the role of settler of issues. Competing MNCs sometimes have competing approaches that are not always to the benefit of the market and the consumer. The IEC can provide a place to resolve issues or find a way for competing approaches to interface. However, he says, “the ultimate beneficiary is the consumer because what’s good for consumers is good for industry.”

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