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U.S. Commerce Department Addresses Standards at Chinese Workshop

Published: Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 21:00

More than 150 American and Chinese government and private sector standards experts attended a workshop in Beijing Aug. 18 and 19.

The event was hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce and China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, and focused on encouraging greater cooperation in the development of international standards, enforcement and conformity assessment. The U.S. delegation included 70 representatives.

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

“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 made from the Chinese delegation concerning their intent to make their standardization process more open and transparent,” says Gary Kushnier, vice president of international policy, American National Standards Institute. “ANSI will continue to urge (Chinese authorities) to allow foreign entities to be present on standards development committees.”

The workshop included sessions on IT/telecom standards; steel/petroleum and water conservation/energy efficiency standards; electrical safety, gas appliance and HVAC standards; and hydrogen infrastructure/elevator standards. Representatives from the industries spoke about expanding standards cooperation, opportunities to remove market barriers, trends in Chinese and American standards development and the importance of a voluntary standards system for technological innovation and growth.

U.S. Department of Commerce and Chinese General Administration of Quality officials have already agreed to meet again in 2005 in Washington, D.C., to again discuss the issues.

For more information, visit www.ansi.org.

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