U.S., China To Develop Industrial Standards Assessment System

By Susan Krause
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington - The American Chamber of Commerce in China will receive a technical assistance grant to promote increased cooperation between the United States and China in the development of commercial and industrial standards and regulatory policy, according to a May 23 announcement from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

The $500,000 grant will support the development of a U.S.-China Standards and Conformity Assessment Cooperation Program (SCACP), USTDA said.  The initiative will make it possible for U.S. and Chinese industry and government representatives to work together in establishing policies and processes for the development of standards and regulations and in assessing conformity.

"USTDA recognizes the importance of transparent standards and conformity assessment processes in maintaining strong U.S.-China economic ties," said USTDA Director Thelma Askey.  "We are pleased to support this technical program, which will have a significant impact on China's development across a broad range of industry sectors."

Transparent standards and regulations and a consistent conformity-assessment system will help China meet the obligations it assumed in its World Trade Organization (WTO) accession agreement, according to USTDA.

The WTO's Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade acknowledges that technical regulations and industrial standards vary from country to country, but tries to ensure that regulations, standards, testing and certification procedures do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade.

USTDA's funding for the SCACP will be supplemented by additional contributions from U.S. standards-development organizations and industry, the announcement said.  The National Electrical Manufacturers Association will manage the program and coordinate U.S. industry participation.

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries, offering funds for technical assistance, feasibility studies, training, orientation visits, and business workshops that support the development of modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment.

For additional information on U.S. policy, see The United States and China.

The full text of the USTDA announcement is available on the agency's Web site.

The WTO's Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade is available on the organization's Web site.