ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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IEC Implementation Plan to Positively Impact "Global Relevance" of International Standards

New York, Dec 02, 2002

Efforts to promote the worldwide application of standards developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) achieved a significant milestone this year when the organization approved an implementation plan for its global relevance policy.

In general, global relevance refers to the degree in which standards are acceptable and usable without reflecting specific regional/national technical or political approaches or agendas. During the October 2002 IEC General Meeting in Beijing, China, Council Board members approved an implementation plan entitled "Implementation of Essential Differences in Requirements in IEC Standards" to address the global relevance policy recommendations of the Global Relevance Task Force. This plan establishes the conditions under which in a relevant IEC standard, certain essential differences may be included, on an equivalent basis, as normative requirements, under well-specified cases either in the main body of the standard or in a normative annex. Where such segments of the global market are affected, inclusion of the differences must be based on technical infrastructures (frequencies, voltages, currents or earthing systems) and climatic conditions.

In a report by Frank K. Kitzantides, United States National Committee vice president-technical and vice president-engineering at the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), it was emphasized that the meaning of essential differences in requirements does not imply different side-by-side standards, rather it will allow products complying with IEC standards to meet the different needs of major segments of the global market. The procedure is to be applied only in those cases where there is substantial degree of harmonization with most of the other requirements in the IEC existing and under development standards.

"By approving an implementation plan for its Global Relevance Policy at its General Meeting in Beijing, IEC has accomplished a major goal in its strategic Masterplan 2000 and has significantly advanced its mission of promoting international cooperation and facilitating world trade," said Charlie Zegers, ANSI international policy program director and USNC general secretary. "This Global Relevance Policy is good for IEC and good for international standardization."

The IEC Standardization Management Board will establish a system of monitoring the inclusion of these requirements. The Global Relevance implementation procedure will be reviewed after two years.

Implementation of Essential Differences in Requirements in IEC Standards

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