ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Education and Outreach Supports Strengthening Partnership Between ANSI and U.S. Department of Commerce


New York, Sep 17, 2002

Approximately 80 percent of global merchandise trade is affected by standards and by regulations that embody standards, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration. If managed inappropriately, standards and conformity assessment activities can negatively affect global commerce and trade, which can be especially detrimental to a nation dependent upon exports.

The Market Access and Compliance division of the Department of Commerce (DoC) works to promote the interests of American companies and workers by preventing unfair trade practices that use standards as a weapon to block international markets. As part of its belief that a strong U.S. position in the global marketplace depends upon a healthy partnership between the private sector and the federal government, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is nurturing a cooperative relationship between the Institute and the DoC. In support of this, the two bodies have fostered dialogue and education through mutual outreach efforts.

ANSI Outreach to ITA Staff

On Thursday, September 12, 2002, a presentation by ANSI representatives was given to International Trade Administration staff in the DoC. Titled "How Standards Affect International Trade," the presentation detailed ANSI's role in the facilitation of standards and conformity assessment activities that impact global trade issues.

A total of 36 DoC staff representing a number of ITA divisions including Market Access and Compliance, the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service, the Office of Trade Development, and a representative from the Secretary of Commerce's office participated in the meeting at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC. The ANSI presentation was spearheaded by David Karmol, director of public policy and government affairs; Gary Kushnier, vice president of International policy; Jane Schweiker, senior advisor to the president and CEO; and Mary Bowers, program manager of international policy, regional and bilateral programs.

Kushnier emphasized that the presentation was "highly successful, and is evidence of a closer working relationship between the Department of Commerce and ANSI." ANSI plans to examine this model as a means of reaching staff in other agencies of interest.

According to Karmol, the presentation "was a very effective means of reaching a large number of DoC staff, and providing them with a basic understanding of ANSI and the standards system both domestically and internationally." The ANSI representatives offered to arrange sector-specific standards presentations for DoC staff, and many of those present expressed an interest in this kind of follow-up meeting to examine the industry sectors they have a particular interest in or responsibility for managing. ANSI will reach out to industry and organization representatives for their involvement, or interested individuals may contact David Karmol at dkarmol@ansi.org for more information.

DoC's Lash a Keynote Speaker at ANSI Annual Conference

Dr. William H. Lash, III, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance, will serve as a keynote speaker at the ANSI Annual Conference, "Breaking Down Borders: Business, Standards and Trade," in Washington, DC, October 15-16, 2002. As the DoC's chief spokesman on standards, Assistant Secretary Lash has maintained a clear focus on the problems of non-tariff barriers to trade, including the use of standards as a trade weapon; he is expected to report on recent DoC initiatives regarding standards and trade in the global arena and collaborative efforts between the U.S. private- and public-sectors.

Appointed by the President, Lash advises on the analysis, formulation and implementation of U.S. international economic policies and carries out programs to promote international trade, improve access by U.S. companies to overseas markets and strengthen the international trade and investment position of the nation. His office is responsible for implementing, monitoring and enforcing foreign compliance with bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.

As head of the Market Access and Compliance division of the International Trade Administration, he is responsible for maintaining accessibility to foreign markets for American companies and workers. This position has given him the opportunity to address the challenges posed by the United States' status in the international standards community. Future plans for the Market Access and Compliance Division involve educating U.S. business owners about opportunities in international trade.

For more information on the ANSI Annual Conference, please visit the ANSI website or contact Pamela Suett at psuett@ansi.org.

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