ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Day Two: Global Relevance in "Business, Standards and Trade" Dominates Dialogue at ANSI Annual Conference

New York, Oct 17, 2002

Day Two continued with the second panel discussion dealing with the benefits of global harmonization of regulations. The panel was moderated by Dr. Mary McKiel, the standards executive at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency where she provides guidance and sets standards policies for the agency. Dr. McKiel is also a vice-chairman of the ANSI Board of Directors.

"European regulators try to abolish borders and technical barriers to trade," according to Evangelos Vardakas, director of the European Commission's (EC) Enterprise Directorate-General. Since the 1980s, he maintained, European regulation efforts have been characterized by a collective effort to simplify and improve existing legislation, improve preparation of new legislation, and enable better application of European Union (EU) law and create a new regulatory culture. Vardakas also stated his belief that harmonization efforts between the EU, the European standards organizations, and other regional standards bodies from this point forward would be advanced by metrication, the recognition of international (worldwide) bodies and promotion of them, agreement on good regulatory practices and higher level objectives of safety, interoperability, consumer information and protection.

The second panelist, Rodolfo Consuegra, deputy director of the National Standardization System, Economy Ministry in Mexico, also shed light on his nation's standardization and conformity assessment processes, which are implemented by several ministries in the Mexican government. He clarified that in terms of standards, government does not regulate areas of quality, and instead focuses specifically on security, safety, environment and product effectiveness along with mandatory technical regulations. Global obligations for Mexico's standardization activities entail a commitment to take into account international standards in its elaboration and reviewing processes while developing technical regulations and standards. "Mexico's standardization system is currently undergoing a profound and important advance in most of its areas," he declared, and expressed a strong degree of optimism for forging harmonization in the international arena.

Mr. Al Dafer served as the third and final panelist, with a brief presentation that elaborated on his earlier address to the audience that morning. He also made a special point to invite the audience to inform him of any present obstacles, issues or challenges that organizations may have faced or be currently facing in trade or standards activities with Arab nations. The panel concluded with a question and answer period facilitated by Dr. McKiel.

The conference closed with a luncheon for the attendees of the Annual Conference (and participants of the SDO Legal Issues Forum immediately following the conference) that was highlighted by a speech by James Connaughton, director of the President's Council on Environmental Quality. This division of the Executive Office of the President is charged with coordinating administration policy on environmental issues, and Mr. Connaughton has extensive "hands on" experience helping organizations large and small become responsible environmental stewards through effective environmental management and compliance assurance systems. Connaughton affirmed the Bush administration's stance that "to make progress, we need to integrate what the standards community does into public policy." He also stressed his willingness to help the standards community push its agenda, if it can articulate a plan for what it wants done.

"We are pleased with the overwhelmingly positive feedback from conference participants," said Dr. Hurwitz. "The Annual Conference was expanded this year as an experiment to enhance the opportunity for members of the Federation to dialogue and interact with colleagues from around the globe. I believe the unity of ideas and methods that we all have contributed to over these two days will foster the productive relationships necessary toward achieving our goals regarding the effective use of international standards and conformity assessment programs as tools for shaping economic policy."