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International Trade Administration Report Highlights Standards and Regulations and the Link to Global Trade


A new report by the Department of Commerce (DOC)'s International Trade Administration (ITA) found that 92 percent of U.S. goods exports in 2015—equivalent to more than $1.3 trillion—was potentially affected by foreign technical regulations that could have significant trade impact. The document details how standards and technical regulations are important to U.S. exports as they establish requirements for entering foreign markets.

The report, "Standards and Regulations: Measuring the Link to Goods Trade," reflects how technical regulations—in particular, those that are based on incorporated national or regional standards instead of international standards—can create additional costs for exporters as they seek to adapt their products and processes to differing regulatory requirements around the globe. Technical regulations include mandatory requirements for labeling, testing, or manufacturing products—as well as procedures to certify compliance with such requirements—that must be met in order to get a product on the market.

“This report demonstrates the pervasiveness of technical regulations and their potential to affect U.S. exports," said acting U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, Ken Hyatt. "Regulations and testing and certification procedures that diverge from international standards—especially in ways that are unnecessarily trade-restrictive—can create challenges for U.S. exporters," according to the DOC’s press release.

“As coordinator of the U.S. voluntary standardization system, the American National Standards Institute is pleased to share this report with our members and stakeholders,” said S. Joe Bhatia, ANSI president and CEO. “Standards and conformity assessment impact all industry sectors and services, so it is vitally important for U.S. companies, organizations, and government agencies to better understand just how significant that impact can be. We are grateful to ITA for their research efforts, and for making this important report available to all.”

To summarize the report’s findings on the important relationship between standards and regulations and international trade, ITA developed a helpful infographic, available here. Access the full report here.

ANSI Focus on Services Standards