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International Standards on Agenda at Tri-National Ministerial Meeting

New York, Feb 23, 2007

The North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), a tri-national, private sector advisory group, put forward a set of recommendations on advancing the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) at a high-level meeting of United States, Canadian and Mexican ministers in Ottawa, Canada, today.

Designed to strengthen North American competitiveness in global markets while improving public safety and security, the more than fifty initial recommendations focus on three priority areas: standards and regulatory cooperation; border-crossing facilitation; and energy supply and distribution. The section on standards contains several key clauses that take aim at alleviating barriers to trade and establish a balanced, market-relevant approach to regulatory compliance and commerce.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff met with their Canadian and Mexican counterparts to consider the NACC recommendations and lay further plans for the SPP—a trilateral effort to advance the shared security and prosperity of the three nations, develop a common security strategy, and promote economic growth, competitiveness, and quality of life [See related article: Input Invited on the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America].

According to the recommendations, regulators drafting or revising rules in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico should be required to consider international technical standards where they exist. Additionally, the NACC calls for both government and industry to participate in the ongoing development of such standards. To this end, the NACC calls for the North American heads of state to issue a communiqué in 2007 that would:

  • increase the awareness and visibility among high-level business and government leaders of existing policies in each country that allow the regulators to use and reference internationally accepted private sector standards to meet regulatory needs;

  • encourage NAFTA industry and government leaders to budget for, and actively participate in, international private sector standards development to harmonize technical and procedural criteria; and

  • encourage national regulatory authorities in each country to consult and cooperate amongst themselves in the process of promulgating any new mandatory requirements and to reference compatible private sector standards in regulations wherever possible.

    The recommendations are based in large part upon contributions from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), who worked closely with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Council of the Americas (COA) to ensure that the recommendations reflected the interests of the international and U.S. standards and conformance communities and the United States Standards Strategy.

    For more information on the NACC’s recommendations, please click here.

ANSI Nanotechnology Standards Panel