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Standards and Competitiveness: Coordinating for Results

History of the Standards Initiative

The Standards Initiative was launched by Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans on March 19, 2003 at the urging of industry associations concerned about the increasing use of both voluntary and mandatory standards as technical barriers to trade. The points under this framework were:

      1. Assess the Department's Standards activities
      2. Develop intensive training for standards attachés
      3. Develop broader training for all U.S. & Foreign Commercial Officers and other International Trade Administration (ITA) staff
      4. Create a "best practices" database
      5. Expand early warning of information on standards developments in key priority foreign markets
      6. Partner with the President's Export Council on standards leadership
      7. Reach out to U.S. industry, in part by hosting a series of industry-specific
      roundtables on standards and
      8. Appoint a Standards Liaison at the International Trade Administration (ITA)

After the launch of the Initiative, thirteen industry roundtables on standards issues were held to gather industry views on relevant issues. The information from these roundtables, as well as the Department's assessment and summary of its standards activities, were included in a report entitled "Standards and Competitiveness: Coordinating for Results," which Secretary Evans released at a press conference in May 2004. This report features 50 recommendations on moving forward. The recommendations fall into eleven categories:

      1. Overarching recommendations
      2. Actions to improve internal Department of Commerce coordination
      3. Improve/coordinate internal Commerce training programs
      4. Improve outreach/collaboration with industry
      5. Improve public and internal access to information on standards and technical regulations
      6. Improve coordination with other U.S. Government agencies
      7. Improve interactions with China
      8. Improve interaction with other foreign governments
      9. Address concerns about ISO and IEC
     10. Continue to provide effective implementation of U.S. trade policy
     11. Long-term strategies

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