Service Standardization in the United States

Overview of current activities and strategic issues  

Updated September 30, 2002

Standards for trade in services  have   increasing strategic implications for any business aspiring to compete in a global marketplace for services. 

In early 2002, GTW Associates completed research on Services Standardization in the United States for the German National Standards Body DIN.  DIN is overall coordinator for a  project  entitled Service-Standards for Global Markets  supported by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research.   (November, 2001 Press Release by the American National Standards Institute). 

The European Commission DG Enterprises also recently contracted with the German Fraunhofer ISIDepartment for  Technology Analysis and Innovation Strategies for another study Standards in the Service Sectors: An Explorative Study    The European Parliament and the Council have requested the Commission to present by 2003 a report on the safety of services, accompanied by appropriate proposals.  On August 16, 2002 DG Enterprises Called  for Tenders nº 126437-2002 (ENTR/02/52) Application of Directive 98/34/EC (Product Safety) to services

The European Union recognizes the role of standards as potential impediments to International Trade in Services Study published 2001  Barriers to Trade in Services (Complete Study)  (Appendices)  On July 1 the EU presented its initial requests for improved market access on services to other World Trade Organisation members in Geneva as part of the GATS.  The requests address the  following sectors: professional services, other business services, telecommunications, postal and courier services, distribution, construction and related engineering services, financial services, environmental services, tourism, news agency services and energy services.

GTW delivered the Final Report on US services standards to DIN in April, 2002  DIN has authorized the public release of the data which are  available below for download    (complete and chapter by chapter)  Service Standardization in the United States Overview of current activities and issues submitted to DIN in March 2002  or    Table of  Contents and Executive Summary only

GTW Associates presented "Overview of US services Standards"  (Presentation text)   (powerpoint presentation)  during a DIN-hosted 2 day conference      in Berlin  Service Standards for Global Markets September 30 and October 1, 2002.  in Berlin.    See also   Detailed program  

On July 1, 2002  U.S. also submitted Proposals for Liberalizing Trade in Services    The US included detailed proposals in the following services sectors
bulletAccountancy Services (pdf, html)
bulletAdvertising Services (pdf, html)
bulletAudiovisual and Related Services (pdf, html)
bulletDistribution Services (pdf, html)
bulletEducation and Training Services (pdf, html)
bulletEnergy Services (pdf, html)
bulletEnvironmental Services (pdf, html)
bulletExpress Delivery Services (pdf, html)
bulletFinancial Services (pdf, html)
bulletLegal Services (pdf, html)
bulletMovement of Natural Persons (pdf, html)
bulletTelecommunications, value-added network, and complementary services (pdf, html)
bulletTourism Services (pdf, html)
bulletTransparency in Domestic Regulation(pdf, html)

On September 19 the OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE Requested  public  Comments and announced a  Public Hearing Concerning Market Access in the Doha Development Agenda Negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO) October 21 and November 6 specifically requesting recommendations for negotiating objectives and examples of impediments to trade in services

The Association for Services Management International 
(AFSMI) 
  distributed a GTW paper  "International Services Standards in your Future"   to members and participants in  The AFSMI S-Business Education Summit and Expo held October 6-8, 2002, in  Atlanta, Georgia    

The paper presents the legacy and  precedent –setting impact of the ISO 9000 quality system standard for global product markets. The paper  documents the parallel approach  taken within the WTO  Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade and the General Agreement on Trade in Services that could  convey similar market power to  international standards relevant to “services”   That countries and regional economies develop and promote strategic standards initiatives on behalf of local suppliers is demonstrated through  regulatory and research activities of the European Commission. Services in the US Economy account for  78% of US gross domestic product   compared to 22%  for goods.  The United states leads the world trade in services  with a   market share of 20%.  And in 1999, the US produced an $80 Billion surplus of trade in services while trade  in merchandise produced a 348 Billion deficit! Global services standards initiatives now under consideration could become the  International standards of the  future …  The  strategic question is not “if” such standards will come to pass, the strategic question is who will write them and what will they require.


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