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Standards Alliance Brings Southern African Delegation to Washington for Capacity-Building Activities

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) initiative the Standards Alliance recently coordinated a visit to the U.S. by a delegation from three Southern African Development Community (SADC) member countries - Lesotho, Malawi, and Zambia. During the visit, which took place January 13-17, 2014, in Washington, DC, the delegates received national enquiry point training and worked to develop relationships with key U.S. and international standards and conformance organizations.

The Standards Alliance is a funding facility designed to provide developing economies with concrete assistance in capacity building, with a specific focus on the effective implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement. As part of the initiative, the Standards Alliance will focus its efforts on up to 10 economic markets worldwide, including the SADC. Lesotho, Malawi, and Zambia are among the SADC's 15 member countries.

The central purpose of the visit was to provide delegates with the opportunity to participate in national enquiry point training with the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC)'s National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). Under the WTO TBT Agreement, all WTO members are required to establish a national enquiry point in order to facilitate the exchange of relevant information and documentation on TBT measures; NIST serves as the U.S. enquiry point. The January training built on initial enquiry point training sessions conducted in Lesotho, Malawi, and Zambia in December 2013.

During their visit, SADC delegates also had the opportunity to meet with representatives of ANSI, members of the ANSI Federation - including ANSI members Underwriters Laboratories (UL), ASTM International, and the International Association for Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) - and several U.S. government agencies. These meetings provided delegates with a greater understanding of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment community, as well as insight into the roles and interests of its various stakeholders.

The agendas from the January visit and the December training are available online. For more information about the Standards Alliance, please contact [email protected] or visit the initiative's website.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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