Grant advances web portal for US/China standards

12/01/05

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded a $250,000 matching grant to support the development of an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-sponsored U.S./China Standards Portal. The Web site will provide online educational materials on the Chinese and U.S. standards systems, as well as translated titles and scopes of up to 1,000 selected standards used in each of the two nations.

Standards-related issues are a significant concern among U.S. businesses competing in the Chinese market. In a recent survey of members of the U.S.-China Business Council, standards ranked sixth among the top 10 concerns of U.S. companies, up from eighth a year earlier.

Developed in consultation with ANSI members and constituents, the U.S./China Standards Portal will feature translations of key bibliographic information pertaining to 1,000 of China's mandatory national standards and Chinese translations for a comparable number of U.S. standards. The free site will include information on the structure and operation of the standards systems in both nations.

ANSI anticipates the site will be operational by the third quarter of 2006.

NIST intends to provide additional funding for enhancements to the portal. The additional funds also would help to support an "Options for Action" Summit meeting, tentatively scheduled for the summer of 2006.

Organized by ANSI and NIST, this high-level meeting for standards developers and industry and government representatives will focus on the development of timetables and actions that can be taken to make the U.S. more competitive internationally in the standards arena. Participants will devise methods to coordinate and leverage the resources of individual organizations to respond more effectively to external standards-related challenges to innovation and competitiveness.

Embodied in safety and other regulations or specified by customers, standards influence an estimated 80 percent of global merchandise trade. Occasionally, some of these technical requirements, which range in scope from specific types of products to organizational management and quality systems, may pose market-entry barriers to merchandise and services exported by other nations.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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