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U.S. Experts Gather for Third ANSI Conference on U.S. Leadership in ISO and IEC

New York, May 29, 2007

On May 23-24, U.S. leaders in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) gathered in Chicago, IL for the third ANSI Conference on U.S. Leadership in ISO and IEC. The event provided a valuable forum for U.S. technical experts to collaborate on the development of key strategies, and to share with ANSI common concerns regarding international standards-setting.

“This is an opportunity for U.S. leaders to learn from one another and make connections for future cooperation and collaboration,” said ANSI president and CEO Joe Bhatia in his opening remarks. “By coming together on a regular basis, we can help to formulate a coordinated approach to strategic engagement in ISO and IEC.”

The event kicked off on the afternoon of May 23 with an open plenary session followed by two concurrent breakout sessions targeted specifically to ISO and IEC participants. Keith E. Williams, president and chief executive officer of Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. served as keynote speaker. Williams examined the interplay between standards and market drivers, underscoring the need for standards to be developed in an environment that is as flexible and dynamic as the market they serve.

“ANSI continues to provide us with that environment and, at the same time, provides our government with further assurance that self-regulation is working,” said Williams. “Never has that flexibility and assurance been more important than it is today, as we negotiate, harmonize and adopt new standards in this swiftly evolving global market.”

Discussions continued on the morning of May 24 when attendees reunited for a series of panel discussions on cross-cutting issues impacting both organizations. Session One, Converging and Emerging Technologies: The Coordination Imperative, focused on the importance of national synchronization between ISO and IEC Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs). ANSI director of international policy Steven Cornish discussed a paper he will be presenting to the ISO Technical Management Board at its June meeting, which offers recommended solutions for increased information sharing and cooperation between ISO and IEC. Nanotechnology was examined as a case study of a converging and emerging area of work within both organizations.

The role and responsibility of U.S. delegates when recommending national standards for inclusion in the ISO or IEC work program was the focus of Session Two, Guidance on Responsibilities Related to Patents, Copyrights and IPR. Particular attention was given to licensing and patenting issues, the validity of copyrights across national borders, and exclusive versus non-exclusive licensing differences.

Session Three, Establishing and Maintaining International Alliances, broadened the focus of Session One to bi-lateral and regional cooperation. Participants highlighted the importance of networking with representatives from other regions to leverage resources and build consensus positions in the standards arena.

Session Four, Electronic Communications and the Broad Application of IT in Standards Development, engaged attendees in an open dialogue on how information technology can help to facilitate and expedite the standards development process, especially as it comes into play with voting, comment-tracking, documentation, and archiving.

Session Five, Using and Referencing ISO and IEC Standards for Technical Regulation, explored the use of international standards in regulations. Issues of consumer protection, environmental policies, sustainable development, and U.S. government use of voluntary standards served as chief points of discussion. Output from this session will be used as the basis for a U.S. white paper that will be carried forward to an ISO workshop during the General Assembly in September 2007.

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