ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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American and European Standards Organizations Agree to Collaborate on Aligning Standards to Facilitate Trade Between EU and U.S.

New York, Feb 14, 2013

At their meeting in Dublin this week, the European Standards Organizations (CEN, CENELEC, and ETSI) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) agreed that they will maintain and intensify their collaboration with a view to aligning their standards, which is necessary in order to facilitate trade in both goods and services between Europe and the U.S. This collaboration is set to become increasingly important as the European Union and U.S. are about to begin negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

CEN, CENELEC, and ETSI are involved in a regular and ongoing dialogue and exchange of information with ANSI. Their most recent meeting, hosted by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), took place in Dublin on February 12, 2013, during the Irish presidency of the Council of the EU. Representatives from the European Commission, the secretariat of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), and the U.S. Department of Commerce also participated in these discussions.

In Dublin, ANSI, CEN, CENELEC, and ETSI decided that they will take forward discussions on an agreement to facilitate action on standards-related issues arising from the implementation of the proposed trade agreement between the EU and the U.S. In his State of the Union speech on February 12, 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama gave the green light for comprehensive trade talks between the EU and U.S., in order to boost growth and create jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

While both the American and European standards organizations take care to seek global solutions wherever possible, including and in particular by working through those organizations that develop globally relevant standards, including the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and many others, there can be significant differences between standards in certain sectors. In many cases, these differences in standards result from differences in legislation and/or regulation between the European Economic Area (EEA) and the U.S.

The TTIP will aim to remove barriers to trade between the EU/EEA and the U.S., and therefore it will be important to reduce any remaining differences between American and European standards in a number of sectors, and also to encourage a common approach, preferably at a global level. The arrangements to be discussed between ANSI, CEN, CENELEC, and ETSI will set out a clear approach to be taken in such cases, including a process to come to rapid common solutions, for instance on arrangements to align standards.

Joint efforts are already underway in many areas. For example, in Dublin there were discussions on alignment of the technical requirements of the main global standards concerning elevators, which stem originally from CEN and ASME. An action plan will now be carried out to intensify collaboration on aligning standards, with the aim of reducing costs and enlarging markets for manufacturers.

The participants reviewed major developments in standardization in the EU and U.S., especially in the context of the regulatory frameworks governing standardization. There were also discussions to review progress in collaboration on electric vehicles and Smart Grids, and to consider new topics such as cloud computing, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, and "Smart Cities." Finally, the meeting looked at the ways in which standards organizations on both sides of the Atlantic are encouraging and supporting the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in standardization activities.

Speaking on behalf of the European Standards Organizations, Dirk Weiler, chairman of the ETSI General Assembly and current chair of the CEN-CENELEC-ETSI Joint Presidents' Group, said: "Enhancing our collaboration with ANSI will enable us to accelerate the process of aligning our standards and overcome any outstanding technical issues. This will help to remove many of the remaining barriers to trade between America and Europe, which should be good for growth and jobs on both side of the Atlantic."

Ileana Martinez, chair of ANSI’s Regional Standing Committee for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and co-chair of the ANSI-CEN-CENELEC-ETSI meeting in Dublin, added: "Standards are a vital tool for innovation and collaborating internationally and between regions on their development will help to ensure the best available climate for business, and thus ensure smooth access to global markets."

The meeting between ANSI, CEN, CENELEC, and ETSI was followed by a February 13, 2013, conference on innovation and standards, organized by the NSAI.

About the European Standards Organizations
CEN, CENELEC, and ETSI are officially recognised as European Standards Organizations by the European Union.

CEN (European Committee for Standardization) and CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) are responsible for developing and defining standards that set out specifications and procedures in relation to a wide range of products and services. The members of CEN and CENELEC are the National Standards Bodies and National Electrotechnical Committees of 33 European countries including all of the EU member states plus 3 EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland) and 3 EU candidate countries (Croatia, Turkey, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). European Standards (ENs) and other technical documents published by CEN and CENELEC are accepted and recognised in all of these countries. For more information, please see:

ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) produces globally-applicable standards for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), including fixed, mobile, radio, converged, aeronautical, broadcast, and internet technologies. ETSI is an independent, not-for-profit association whose more than 700 member companies and organizations, drawn from 62 countries across 5 continents worldwide, determine its work program and participate directly in its work. For further information, please visit: