Standards form the foundation of world trade. Standards have the ability to facilitate trade between the U.S. and other countries by reducing transaction costs and providing common reference points. In an increasingly global marketplace, relevant international standards - and compliance with them - become critical for every player from small businesses to multinational enterprises. A lack of international cooperation around standards and best practices can result in regulatory divergences and trade disruptions, on top of suboptimal health, safety, and environmental outcomes. For this reason, the U.S. supports the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) principles of transparency, openness, impartiality, and consensus, which are the hallmarks of a flexible and responsive U.S. standards system.
ANSI promotes the use of U.S. standards internationally, advocates on behalf of U.S. policy and technical positions in international and regional standards organizations, and encourages the adoption of international standards as national standards where needed. U.S. law and policy also encourages the public and private sectors to follow the WTO TBT principles, emphasizing accountability and minimizing trade disruption as much as possible. ANSI's international trade and development activities cover most geographic regions of the world and support these goals through:
- Supporting bilateral relationships through maintenance of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) and other cooperation with peer organizations in priority markets for U.S. stakeholders
- Influence in relevant regional and international organizations
- Capacity building and technical assistance to help countries meet international obligations, improve their quality systems, and execute high quality trade agreements.
International Trade Resources
When it comes to international trade, standards that are international, transparent, and consensus-based become solutions, rather than obstacles. If used effectively, such standards and conformity assessments have the capacity to remove barriers to trade, spur innovation, and fuel business and economic growth. Things like facilitating exports and economic development, developing a qualified workforce or improving basic infrastructure, strengthening supply chains, improving consumer safety as well as protecting the environment are all key elements that need to be a part of international trade. Facilitating trade in this way allows for key protections and improvements while not compromising on economic growth, innovation, and development.