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September 29, 2003
  Contact: Victoria Park
(202) 482-0310


Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Development Linda Conlin today presented a $387,106 financial assistance award to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) at a U.S. Department of Commerce/American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards workshop in Washington, DC.

"The Department of Commerce is pleased to partner with NEMA on this project," said Conlin. "The Bush Administration is committed to opening new markets for U.S. goods and creating jobs for American workers. Standards and testing are key to our international competitiveness and this partnership will help small- and medium-sized U.S. companies succeed in their efforts to export to China."

Foreign standards and methods used to assess conformity to standards can facilitate efficient international trade and its benefits, or they can be used intentionally or unintentionally to impede access to foreign markets. Many in industry view foreign standards and technical regulation as a principal non-tariff barrier in markets around the world. Divergent standards, redundant testing and compliance procedures, and unilateral and non-transparent standard setting exercises are now recognized as major impediments to free trade -- estimated to affect 80 percent of world commodity trade.

In March 2003, Commerce Secretary Don Evans launched a standards initiative to help break down standards related trade barriers. The initiative is a response to U.S. industry concerns that foreign standards and technical regulation issues are among the greatest challenges to expanding exports. For a full copy of the Standards Initiative, visit the Department of Commerce website at www.commerce.gov.

The funds awarded to NEMA are made available through the Commerce Department's Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP), a public-private partnership developed to help small- and medium-sized U.S. firms expand exports that support jobs. The Market Development Cooperator Program is a competitive matching grants program that builds partnerships by providing federal assistance to non-profit organizations involved in export promotion. For more information about the Market Development Cooperator Program, please visit www.export.gov/mdcp.

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