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ANSI Seeks Comments on Proposal for International Standard on Second-Hand Goods

New York, Mar 21, 2007

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Management Board’s (TMB) Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on second-hand goods has submitted a proposal for a new International Standard guiding the cross-border trade of second-hand products.

According to the proposal, the last decade has seen considerable growth in the trade of used goods across national lines, from clothing and footwear to cars and household appliances. The most common recipients of this trade are developing and transitional economies, which often lack adequate infrastructures to set and enforce regulations and perform appropriate testing of second-hand goods. Constrained by limited financial and market surveillance resources, consumers in these economies are vulnerable to potentially unsafe or non-serviceable goods that could adversely affect consumer health and safety, as well as the environment.

The new work item would establish minimum performance criteria for used products re-entering the market for donation, exchange or sale. Responsibility of ensuring compliance, the proposal suggests, would likely be imposed on the exporting country. Through consultation with ISO’s technical committees, Consumer Policy Committee (COPOLCO) and Committee on Developing Country Matters (DEVCO), the ISO TMB TAG has identified vehicles, clothing, domestic appliances, tires and footwear as priority product areas for consideration.

Documents to be considered in the development of the new standard include the National Electrical Manufacturers Association's (NEMA) Guidelines for Handling Water Damaged Electrical Equipment, as well as other relevant national standards and guidelines relating to textiles; port-of-call testing for televisions, refrigerators and washing machines; and environmentally-sound recycling of electronic products.

As the official U.S. member of the ISO, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) coordinates a virtual TAG responsible for developing input into the ISO TMB TAG on second-hand goods. Should the proposed work item be approved, the group will transition to an official U.S. TAG.

ANSI is currently seeking comments on the ISO TMB TAG proposal. All input will be considered to form a recommended ANSI position to ISO. Interested stakeholders are invited to submit comments to Steven Cornish, ANSI director of international policy ( by Friday, April 27, 2007.

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