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NEMA Hails Standards Report

Provide progress report on priorities of Commerce secretary.

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) welcomed the release of a new report by U.S. Department of Commerce entitled Standards and Competitiveness — Coordinating for Results: Removing Standards-Related Trade Barriers Through Effective Collaboration. The report outlines the department’s standards-related activities and provides recommendations to ensure an environment where standards do not constitute barriers to trade. The document will also be used as a foundation for collaboration with other federal agencies on future standards programs.

The study provides a progress report on the eight priorities established by Commerce Secretary Donald Evans last year. These include (1) developing a standards activity assessment to reduce standards-related barriers to foreign markets; (2) reinforcing expertise in key markets; (3) devising an effective training and outreach program; (4) creating a best practices database; (5) expanding the early warning system; (6) partnering with the President’s Export Council on Standards Leadership; (7) reaching out to the U.S. industry, and (8) appointing a standards liaison at the International Trade Administration (ITA).

The report also includes a background on standards development and conformity assessment, the role of individual Commerce agencies on standards issues, feedback from the private sector on the most pressing standards issues and priority foreign markets, and recommendations for enhancement and expansion of the program. The Commerce Department sponsored 13 roundtables to solicit views from the industry. The report notes that participants raised serious concern about competing or differing standards, as well as the general lack of information and understanding about the standards development process in the United States and other countries.

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