ANSI - American National Standards Institute
 Print this article  Previous Next 

U.S.–Russia Standards and Conformity Assessment Forum Held in Moscow

WTO TBT Agreement, Trade-Related Standards Issues Discussed

New York, Jun 10, 2013

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC), under the auspices of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, held a U.S.–Russia Standards and Conformity Assessment Forum at the World Trade Center Moscow on May 30, 2013, supported by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the U.S.–Russia Business Council. The forum, which included a closing reception sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), was attended by more than 300 people, including representatives from ANSI, UL, the DoC, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Industry and Trade, and Federal Agency on Technical Regulation and Metrology (Rosstandart), as well as other key Russian and U.S. agencies and organizations.

The forum, which was organized following Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in August 2012, focused on the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement as well as standards and conformance issues that impact trade. As the world’s eighth-largest economy, with the highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and consumer consumption rates of the BRIC countries, Russia is already an attractive market for expanding U.S. competitiveness abroad. U.S. exports to Russia topped $8 billion in 2011, and are expected to rise significantly as a result of Russia’s WTO membership and the opening of its market.

“The U. S. Department of Commerce and Russian Ministry of Economic Development have created a work plan for the Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group. This work plan, which was approved on March 18th of this year, is in essence a business plan for our governments. It identifies areas in which the United States and Russia envision a new chapter of economic cooperation,” said Matthew Murray, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of Commerce for Europe/Eurasia, highlighting the opportunities associated with bilateral direct investment in potential high-growth fields and improved U.S.–Russian government and private sector cooperation. “Today we are realizing one of the central objectives of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission’s economic program. We are developing a common language, mutual understanding and consensus on appropriate commercial standards for regulating our products and services.”

During the forum, participants were given overviews of the U.S. and Russian standardization systems, and changes in the Russian system related to Russia’s WTO accession and the rules governing the TBT Agreement were discussed. The forum also looked at methods to assist the harmonization of certain U.S. and Russian standards and conformity assessment assurance, with a particular focus on standards for petroleum-sector fire safety and medical devices. Representatives of the DoC, including Joseph Wereszynski and Bryan O’Byrne, discussed the role of standards in the U.S.-Russia bilateral trade dialogue and implementation of relevant WTO commitments. ANSI, UL, and the World Trade Center Moscow, among other groups, also contributed as speakers.

“Developments in innovation of our two countries, and the world as a whole, have reached a level where it is necessary to devise common strategies and solutions in order for the economy to develop more effectively and to support the growth of production,” said Vladimir Salamatov, the general director of the World Trade Center Moscow. “We can see that working through the questions raised at this forum is not of a small importance to the U.S. government. We can confidently say that we have reached a mutual understanding on all the questions and also have made big plans for collaboration on future projects."

“ANSI is excited to support new areas of cooperation aimed at best practices for implementing WTO principles, leading to those increased trade dollars,” said Gary Kushnier, ANSI vice president for international policy, during remarks delivered via videoconference. “With the strong public-private partnership demonstrated through today’s forum, we have the perfect opportunity to support industry in both countries and prevent trade barriers before they occur.”

In late 2012, ANSI held a briefing to inform members of U.S. industry about the implications of Russia’s WTO-related commitments, and to solicit relevant industry feedback about standards, compliance, and market access priorities [see related story]. ANSI subsequently took part in a meeting of Russian and U.S. experts on issues related to international trade [see related story].

During the forum, Mr. Kushnier announced that ANSI had finalized an official Cooperation Agreement with the World Trade Center Moscow. The agreement establishes a mutually beneficial working relationship between the two groups, with the goal of enhancing U.S–Russian cooperation, communication, and industry exchange, as well as encouraging new opportunities for collaboration on projects in connection with standards and conformance.

The event’s agenda can be accessed here; to view presentations given during the forum, click here. For more information, please contact Leslie McDermott, ANSI senior manager for international development, at intl@ansi.org.

AN INTRODUCTION TO STANDARDS: WHY, WHERE AND HOW ARE THEY DEVELOPED?