ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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U.S. Dept. of Commerce Addresses Standards Issues at U.S.-China Workshop in Beijing

Washington DC, Aug 20, 2004

A 70-member U.S. delegation of industry and government representatives participated in a two-day workshop in Beijing, China to address one of the most challenging issues facing the US-China trade relationship. The August 18-19 workshop was hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) and China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) to seek greater cooperation in standards development and conformity assessment issues. Commerce Deputy Under Secretary for Technology Benjamin Wu led the American delegation and AQSIQ Vice Minister Ge Zhirong led the Chinese delegation.

The workshop addressed industry concerns that standards can be used as technical barriers to trade. The event was organized at the request of the U.S. private sector and resulted from agreements reached at the 15th session of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce Trade meeting held in April 2004 between Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, and Vice Premier Wu Yi.

More than 150 U.S. and Chinese government and private sector standards and conformity assessment experts attended the two-day event, which consisted of a variety of sessions covering the IT/telecom standards; steel/petroleum and water conservation/energy efficiency standards; electrical safety, gas appliance, and HVAC standards; and hydrogen infrastructure/elevator standards. Representatives of these organizations spoke about expanding standards cooperation, opportunities to remove market barriers, trends in each country’s standards development process, and the importance of a voluntary standards system to technology innovation and growth.

Gary Kushnier, ANSI vice president of international policy, made a presentation on "The Rationale Behind the U.S. Approach to Participation in International Standards Development." Sharing the session with Mr. Kushnier was Mr. Zhang Lin, director general, department of international standards of the Standardization Administration of China (SAC), who spoke on international standardization activities in China.

Mr. Kushnier stated: “The U.S. delegation was warmly received by our Chinese hosts and, even though there are still issues regarding what an international standard is between our two countries, we were pleased by comments from the Chinese delegation concerning their intent to make their standardization system more open and transparent. ANSI will continue to urge AQSIQ and SAC to allow foreign entities to be present on Chinese standards development committees, to build upon their statements regarding openness.”

DoC and AQSIQ have committed to build on this constructive public-private sector dialogue at a follow-up workshop scheduled for 2005 in Washington DC.