ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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U.S. Standards Strategy on the Road: Reaching Out to Consortia

First of a series of informational forums on the revision of the Strategy held in Boston

New York, Mar 29, 2005

A landmark event occurred in Boston, Massachusetts, today as representatives from 21 consortia convened with members of the voluntary consensus standards community for the largest known meeting of the two constituencies.

Hosted by Gesmer Updegrove LLP and organized by the U.S. Standards Strategy (USSS) Committee, the session was held specifically for the purpose of information sharing and soliciting input from consortia on the draft revision of the Strategy that is currently underway. The USSS (formerly known as the National Standards Strategy) serves as a strategic framework to help guide standards-related activities impacting trade, market-access, emerging national priorities and more.

“The United States Standards Strategy is being developed for U.S. stakeholders by U.S. stakeholders,” explained S. Joe Bhatia, chairman of USSS Committee, and executive vice president, international, for Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL). “Because this Strategy addresses critical issues such as market access, global relevancy, coherence, inclusivity, education, public awareness and acceptance, it is imperative to have the input of as many members of standards community as possible.”

The first edition of the Strategy was issued in 2000. In mid-2004, the Board of Directors of the American National Standards Institute convened the committee under Mr. Bhatia’s leadership to determine whether the NSS needed to be revised to reflect current issues and anticipated trends.

During the past year, more than 100 members of the standards and conformity assessment community - representing a broad cross-section of diverse interests including industry sectors, small, medium and large organizations, federal and state government, and more - have participated in the review process. The caucus for consortia is the first in a series of sector-specific forums to promote dialogue and input as the committee nears its target date for completion of the Strategy.

“We were very pleased with the large turnout from the consortia representatives and their active participation,” added Bhatia. “I think many of us came away with a newfound respect for the commonality of our various organizations. This meeting may well be the stepping stone for forging a new relationship between consortia and the developers of voluntary consensus standards.”

"Whether focused on Information and Communications Technology, financial services, or other industries, consortia play a vital role in the global standards-setting infrastructure," explained Andrew Updegrove, a USSS Committee member and partner of Gesmer Updegrove LLP. "While these organizations have a global membership, United States companies participate in them extensively. The standards consortia create are particularly important to the technology sector, which contributes strongly to the United States economy. It is important that the voice of consortia be heard during the development of the USSS and that the Strategy addresses national priorities from a global perspective."

A draft of the revised strategy was released for public review and comment earlier this month; comments are due by April 18, 2005. A public forum is planned for April 15 in Washington, DC, and will provide an opportunity for the public at large to hold a dialogue on the revised draft of the Strategy.

For more information on the U.S. Standards Strategy, visit www.ansi.org/usss.

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