ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Japan Invites ANSI Chairman to Address the Role of Standards Organizations in a Global Society

Oliver Smoot Presents U.S. Perspective at International Standardization Forum

New York, May 24, 2002

ANSI Chairman Oliver R. Smoot, the 2002 International Organization for Standardization (ISO) President-elect, delivered strong messages of market relevance and harmonized standards development during a presentation to the Japanese standards and conformity assessment community earlier this month.

Invited by the Japanese Standards Association (JSA) to speak at the May 7, 2002 International Standardization Forum in Tokyo, Chairman Smoot's goal was "to strengthen the level of understanding between the U.S. and Japan on strategic issues in ISO and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standardization."

Chairman Smoot addressed the need for market relevance in standardization, citing as an example the "needs-driven" focus of the U.S. voluntary consensus standards system. "[U.S.] emphasis is placed on developing standards of high technical quality in a timely manner that serve as an effective tool to solve a specific problem, and which can be widely adopted and implemented," he explained. Mr. Smoot pointed out his observation that the Japanese standards community shares a common belief in the value of market-driven standards as well as in several other key areas. This message resonated with the over 100 forum participants, many of who confirmed their support for enhanced global relevancy in ISO and IEC activities.

When the participants challenged Chairman Smoot to recommend a better method for global harmonization of standards than the one currently used, he explained that one of his goals when he assumes his role as ISO President would be greater coherence in the global standardization system and an emphasis on achieving the "1-1-1" principle set forth by current ISO president, Mario Cortopassi, that calls for, "One standard, one test and one mark of compliance."

First, he expressed U.S. support for ISO and IEC strategies that recognize the work of national, regional and other standards developers as a means to achieve one set of global standards in a technical area that is consistent with the standards upon which they are based. "It appears that we share a 'common vision' that standards development should be a global effort, which considers societal needs of health, safety and the protection of the environment. In addition, we agree that it is critical for standards to be developed with the full and open cooperation and collaboration among participants worldwide."

Commenting further on the "1-1-1" initiative, Mr. Smoot said, "Standards are just good ideas unless products, systems and services conform to them. By their very nature, needs-driven standards quicken the acceptance of products in the international marketplace."

During the visit, Mr. Smoot's hosts indicated that they were currently investigating possible reforms to their voluntary consensus standards system and were interested in the U.S. approach, especially with regard to implementation of the National Standards Strategy (NSS). As a result, he provided an extensive description of the U.S. system and the principles set forth in the NSS. He also encouraged JSA to continue aggressive implementation of its strategy.

"As ISO President-elect I have been given a unique opportunity to network with standards organizations around the globe and to gain valuable insight on their many diverse viewpoints," Chairman Smoot explained. "I look forward to working with all ISO member nations toward the goal of ensuring the market relevance of ISO standards for each sector."

ANSI Focus on Services Standards