ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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ANSI Chairman Leads 13-Member Delegation to Pacific Area Standards Conference

New Charter and Terms of Reference Adopted

New York, Jun 25, 2002

ANSI Chairman Oliver R. Smoot led a 13-member U.S. delegation to the Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC), a forum to strengthen international standardization programs for nations in the Asia-Pacific region in which the Institute is a member; the Institute's participation in PASC is coordinated via its Regional Standing Committee on Asia-Pacific. Among the decisions made at the meeting were the adoption of a revised Charter for PASC and revised Terms of Reference for its Standing Committee as well as recommendations to increase consumer and developing country participation in standardization.

The agenda for the 25th annual PASC meeting, which took place on June 2-7, 2002 in Nadi, Fiji, focused on the ideals of the newly revised charter that promote measures to increase the organization's relevance to its members. Chairman Smoot noted the significance of the revisions: "One of the most important modifications to the newly adopted charter and terms of reference is the broader recognition of the various forums for standards development and conformity assessment. In addition to issues emanating from traditional sources such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the work of international standards developers, including ANSI members, will also be recognized within PASC."

In addition to the adoption of the new charter, numerous resolutions were passed in support of the organization's New Directions, including initiatives to enhance consumer involvement in national and international standards activities. Currently being considered is the creation of special funding and education programs to ensure the effectiveness of consumer representatives in international standards-setting and afford them the same level of participation as other stakeholders. In addition, these new programs should also have mechanisms in place to raise the awareness of consumer issues among stakeholders. There was also a suggestion to share with fellow members any documentation on consumer participation that has already been prepared and to encourage the creation of international guidelines in this area.

Additional discussion addressed international standardization issues within the context of ISO and IEC activities, especially with regard to increasing the participation of developing countries. To highlight the benefits of standardization and provide a model for the development of a suitable standards and conformance infrastructure in Asia-Pacific area countries, the development of communications materials, such as guides or brochures, was introduced. These materials may also be designed to encourage consumer and business involvement in the national standardization and conformance infrastructure of developing nations. Also, members were encouraged to take a more active role in ISO's Consumer Policy Committee (COPOLCO) in order to ensure that proposals for international consumer initiatives achieve the greatest involvement and support from the broadest possible range of interests.

PASC members were encouraged to host ISO and IEC Technical Committee and Subcommittee meetings as a means of including the input of local experts and industry representatives in international work. Discussion also addressed the need for members to engage in the development of ISO and IEC global relevancy initiatives in order to ensure the creation of performance-based standards that are relevant to the market needs of all regions.

"The resolutions agreed upon at the recent meeting," explained Gary Kushnier, ANSI's vice-president of International Policy, "display an earnest effort on the part of PASC members to enhance the region's participation in international standardization activities. The implementation of these new policies will help to include the influence of Asia-Pacific nations in international documents, which, in turn, will foster improved trade opportunities between nations of the developed and developing world."

The next PASC meeting will be held on April 22-25, 2003 in Hanoi, Vietnam. For further information, please contact Mary Bowers, the Institute's program manager for International Policy, Regional and Bilateral Programs at (t) 202.331.3607 or (e) mbowers@ansi.org.

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