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ANSI Participates in GSO Workshop on Best Practices for Standardization Worldwide

New York, Nov 12, 2009

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), along with many international stakeholders, participated in a recent workshop on the best practices for standardization around the world, held by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Standardization Organization (GSO). The event was held in Dubai under the sponsorship of His Excellency Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Ph.D., minister of environment and water of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) on November 1–3, 2009.

The GSO was established by the GCC in late 2001 to achieve stronger coordination and cooperation among the six nations of the region in the standardization arena, with a view to unifying their regulations and coordinating their activities within international standards organizations.

Participants and speakers represented the U.A.E., Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait, as well as other nations around the world including the U.S., Japan, Australia, and Zimbabwe. Following opening remarks by Dr. bin Fahad, Anwar Yusuf Al-Abdullah, Ph.D., secretary general of the GSO, welcomed all participants to the forum.

Over the course of three days, speakers addressed a wide variety of issues on best practices for international standardization and related activities. Gary W. Kushnier, ANSI vice president of international policy, discussed the increasing use of international standards by regulators and business to facilitate market access, as well as ways to work cooperatively to minimize duplicative testing and certification requirements. Mr. Kushnier noted that ANSI and the GSO had signed a Memorandum of Understanding in September 2009, and that he was pleased to further this relationship as a participant in the forum.

Other topics discussed included the U.S. public sector’s perspective and role in standards activities, as well as the role of metrology in standards development, presented by Kelsey Scheich and Maria Uhle of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In a presentation by Len Morrissey of ASTM International, attendees heard the private-sector perspective on the U.S. system, with a focus on best practices for encouraging broad stakeholder participation in standards development activities.

Colin Blair of Standards Australia (SA) spoke on his organization’s focus on stakeholder choice and greater international alignment within its standards development work. He later led a workshop session concerning risk management in the supply chain. Very informative presentations were made by Anwar El-Tawil, Ph.D., UNIDO advisor, on technical regulations and conformity assessment in light of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) agreement, as well as on the “New Approach” and “Global Approach” to standardization as practiced in the European Union.

“All the sessions were highly interactive, with participants from the Gulf region asking many questions about the various ways that standardization takes place in the United States, Europe, southern Africa, and Japan,” reported Mr. Kushnier. “Attendees contributed valuable insight in comparing various approaches to international standards alignment that can better aid the GSO’s work in regional standardization.”

During the course of the three day event, several opportunities were provided for interaction among the GSO members and speakers. Mr. Kushnier noted that GSO members were looking for the best practices available to better align their region’s standardization development activities. “It was clear that both the sponsors and participants of the forum wanted to hear as many perspectives as possible in order to better facilitate their future interaction in standards development activities,” he noted.

For more information on standardization activities in the Gulf region, visit the GSO website.

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