Discussion               November 6, 2002     9:35 am – 12:30 pm

Global relevance of ISO, IEC and ITU to meet the needs of the global market and regulators, including an exchange on respective developments in the adoption and promotion of ISO and IEC standards (Excerpts from the meeting document and Agenda)

American Issue Manager: Mr. George Willingmyre, GTW Associates  (With support and participation by Suzanne Sene, Bob Noth, George Arnold, Bill Primosch, Jim Crandall, James Thurston, Ann Ngo, Jim Thomas, Kitty Kono, Art Schwope,   Ray Hapeman,  Ed Kelly, June Ling, Mark Sheehan, Gary Kushnier, Steve Cornish)

European Issue Manager for Global Relevance: Dr. Horst Gerlach, ZVEI

European Issue Managers for respective developments in the adoption and promotion of ISO and IEC standards:  Mr. Georg Hongler, CEN; Mr. Enrico Comellini (CENELEC)


Both United States and European Government and Standards Policy officials recognize the strategic role of standards to shape local and global markets for products and services.  Both the United States and Europe take steps to promote the global acceptance of standards in the interests of industrial competitiveness. The United States and European government and standards policy officials promote their constituents’ strategic  interests using different approachs. These diverging approaches result in differing patterns of use and adoption and promotion of ISO and IEC standards and occasionally result in irresolvable conflicts at the International  level of ISO and IEC  whereby International standards are not responsive to regional market needs.  See ANNEX for Citations and Document References

Begin Excerpts from the ANSI-ESO/EC/EFTA Meeting November 5-7, 2002  Washington, DC  

Meeting Summary and Conclusions

Prepared by M Bowers, Program Manager, International Policy Regional and Bilateral Affairs, ANSI

International Exchange on respective developments in the adoption and promotion of ISO and IEC standards

Summary of Discussion: Mr. Enrico Comellini gave a brief presentation on the adoption and promotion of ISO and IEC standards in Europe and asked if the process in the US could be changed to allow for the similar results, and also allow for the withdrawal of conflicting standards .  ANSI responded that the procedures have been streamlined to adopt ISO and IEC standards in those sectors that are interested in doing so. In addition, there is no policy in the US to withdraw standards that may conflict with ISO or IEC standards; they would die a “natural death” since the market decides which standards will be ultimately used, not a formal national adoption process. Finally, ANSI presented evidence that measuring adoption of standards is not a useful tool in determining global relevance. However, measuring use of standards would be useful. European discussants took the view that adoption of standards can be regarded as an indicator for the interest in international standards.

Mr. Horst Gerlach presented the results of IEC’s 66th meeting regarding the global relevance issue (paper presented by the CB task force – IEC C1278R), which was accepted by the IEC and will move forward unchanged over the next two years. Essential differences in requirements are still integrated into IEC standards, but harmonization remains the main goal. Mr. Gerlach further presented some recommendations by the German national committee for future activity.

Global relevance of ISO, IEC and ITU to meet the needs of the global market and regulators

Presentations by: Mark Sheehan regarding ASME example  Mr. Noth regarding global needs vs. regional needs, and Mr. Art Schwope regarding ASTM Committee F23 on protective clothing example.

Mr. Ray Hapeman presented regarding ITU and telecom standards  and Mr. Steven Cornish made a presentation regarding ISO discussion on global relevancy

Summary of Discussion: The IEC and ITU (both having narrower fields of technical topics than ISO) have successfully defined global relevance. In the IEC, not all committees are affected by global relevance, but it was determined that a policy was needed. Thus, a list of essential differences, moving away from regional differences, to address standardization efforts was the goal. This could be the same in ISO.

Meeting participants discussed the need to focus on a common definition of what global relevance within ISO, IEC, ITU and other standards developing organizations (SDOs) meant. The European and American markets are the two largest in the world and it is an obligation to do this globally for the users of the standards. It was agreed to take on the ambitious challenge of working together on a bilateral pilot project, in which ANSI and CEN would choose a couple of key sectors under ISO where progress could be made in dealing with these issues. Examples of IEC and ITU could be used as models; both organizations would be consulted for assistance.  This pilot project group should take the time over the next couple of months to define terms of reference for this work and determine the best sectors on which to work. Work should be done outside of the normal ISO process, achieve some agreements, and then move back into the ISO system.  ANSI will contact CEN to move this project forward early in 2003.

End  Excerpts from the ANSI-ESO/EC/EFTA Meeting November 5-7, 2002  Washington, DC Meeting Summary and Conclusions (and return to Excerpts from the meeting documents)


European Citations and Document References:

“As standardization is a mainly market-driven activity, it is of key interest to European stakeholders to promote the European system and foster close links with international standardization outside Europe.  The Commission encourages European stakeholders to continue their efforts in this respect. [1] 

“The Community . . . provides technical assistance to third countries to help them align their regulations, standards and conformity assessment infrastructure with European and international requirements.”[2]

“European actors should communicate with each other to ensure mutual understanding and positions in respect of legal requirements or in support of policies of the EC.  While representing their own constituencies in specific discussions, European actors are invited to follow the principles set out in this paper which, taken together, define the European policy in relation to international standardization [3] 

“It can be of particular value to consult between stakeholders nationally and represent national positions independently in the international context.  For that purpose, it is important that the national standardization systems allow for effective participation by all interested parties, and that national positions are coherent with European policies and legislation, if existing [4] 

“Council notes with satisfaction that the Community  has started to apply the principles of the New Approach in new areas and that the Commission has launched a review of certain aspects of the New Approach, and encourages the Commission to further explore the potential of the  New Approach both within the Community and at the international level, systematically identifying both opportunities and any  limitations to be addressed  [5] 

The project aims at two-way trade facilitation between the Russian Federation and the European Union through contributing to the alignment of the RF legal framework for standardization, accreditation and certification of products with the EU system; capacity building of the State Committee of Russian Federation for Standardization and Metrology (Gosstandart) and other relevant bodies; laboratory audit and accreditation including procurement and installation of equipment; supporting participation of the Russian Federation in European and international  standard organizations. Maximum budget: 4 000 000 EUR [6]

United States References

“the United States has a proud tradition of developing and using voluntary standards to support the needs of our citizens and the competitiveness of U.S. industry [7] 

Principles U.S. interests strongly agree on the principles necessary for the development of national or international standards to meet societal and market needs  7 

The decentralized system in the United States is not well understood.  Not only can this disadvantage U.S. interests, but the benefits of our system — flexibility and relevance to users — are not always recognized by global interests even when they represent a better solution. It is in our interests to make sure that everyone understands the strengths offered by the U.S. approach  7

For some technology sectors, ISO and IEC are the preferred organizations within which to achieve one global standard.  Other sectors utilize other organizations to achieve that goal. The U.S. confirms its commitment to contribute consistently and effectively in all international standardization activities 7 

effective and valued international standardization can be best achieved through recognition of sector driven standards and adherence to basic principles of standards development. [8]

U.S. based standards organizations such as ASME, ASTM, IEEE and NFPA have for decades developed international standards used by industry and accepted by governments throughout the world because their documents are developed by processes in which the users have confidence. Such usage has met the safety needs of governments, facilitated global trade, and effectively served as a basis upon which enterprises of all sizes can effectively compete in a global market 8.

some nations and regions have interpreted the term “international standards” as excluding standards developed by U.S. voluntary consensus standards organizations that by criteria of process, quality, use, and acceptance plainly embody the other Annex 4 principles and meet global needs   8 

Having one global standard is an important goal; especially in view of the growing convergence of technologies and industrial sectors. Such a single global standard must be able to benefit trade, enable technological innovation, foster competition and establish common safety criteria for the affected sector(s   8 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) invites interested parties to submit suggestions for workshops covering  specific sectors and targeted countries or regions of the world where  training in the U.S. system of standards development, conformity assessment, and metrology may facilitate trade  [9]

[1] Report of the Commission to the Council and European Parliament on actions taken following the resolutions on European standardization adopted by the Council and European Parliament in 1999” [reference: COM(2001) 527 final, dated 26.09.2001, paragraph 45 

[2] paragraph 48 ibid

[3] Commission Staff Working Paper SEC(200) 1296 of 2001-07-26 "European Policy Principles on International Standardisation" 

[4] ibid paragraph 11

[5] Council conclusions of 1 March 2002 on standardisation

[6] B-Brussels: Tacis - approximation of technical rules and standards 2002/S 183-144041

[7] National Standards Strategy for the United States see at  

[8] January 30, 2002 ANSI Paper on International Standards Development and Use see at

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