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and point up the gaps where standards activities need to be initiated. We now know some of these gaps, but I am sure that there must be others of which we are unaware.
Most important of all, of course, is the fact that if information on standards is readily available, it will be more generally used. The more it is used by producers and distributors and consumers, the better our products will be and the better consumers will be served.
The second major provision of this bill (Sec. 2(a)) relates to international standards activities. Here again, I believe that it is most important that the Secretary of Commerce provide leadership to assure adequate U.S. representation in this field, in which other countries are moving so rapidly.
The United States early became the world leader in the development of yoluntary commercial standards, through the efforts of American business and industry and the Bureau of Standards, stimulated and organized by the late President Hoover. In recent years, however, our position in the international picture has' gradually eroded because of lack of leadership in the organization and financing of a comprehensive effort in international standards-making activities. It is most desirable that the Secretary of Commerce, in cooperation with private standards making bodies, should now actively undertake this function, as this bill authorizes him to do.
In my travels in other countries, I have observed that every major industrial nation in the world has a standards making activity which is either government financed or Government-assisted and which makes certain that its country's industries are properly represented in the field of international commercial standards. In the United States, on the other hand, we have not spoken with one voice. Moreover, we have actually been absent from the council tables on more than one occasion when other countries met to agree on product standards. It is essential to protect the interest of American consumers at home and American exporters that the United States be fully represented in these councils, particularly when new materials and products, new proposals for packaging and transportation standards are being developed. The American Standards Association, now known as the United States of America Standards Institute, has represented the United States with respect to some produets, but in others there has been little or no representation.
One of the principal reasons for urging the passage of this legislation is to assure better quality and greater standardization of imports into the United States. The post-war surge of production in Europe and Japan, turned out by new plants with the most modern equipment has brought a flood of new merchandise into world trade and a flood of imports into the United States. Many of these imports are inexpensive consumer goods which undersell American products. In some cases domestic production is being displaced. Some of this imported merchandise is of good quality, and if it is, buyers should know, for we need good inexpensive goods for sale here. But some of it is shoddy, or poor quality. The buyer can only rely on the retailer, or buy and try.
In the long run, the only assurance of quality lies in agreed upon international standards, which exporters in other countries would observe. If, for example, American retailers knew that a given line of portable radios, or other electronics equipment, met an international standard, they could buy with more certainty and so could consumers.
Standards for consumers' goods are now receiving more attention, both here and abroad—but as yet there are too few of them. We hope there will be more. It would be a great gain for consumers if there were international standards for major consumer goods, that move in international trade—such as textiles, electronics, appliances, watches, etc. Our U.S. export business would also benefit greatly.
But the important forward step for which this bill provides is adequate U.S. representation whenever international commercial standards are under discussion. This is needed whether the standards are for materials or parts or producers or consumers' goods or packaging. The United States must not be left out. If we are at present represented by our experts from industry, government, and professional organizations, we can contribute to these standards, and all countries should benefit.
For these reasons, I urge that this Committee take favorable action on
for Consumer Affairs.
GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION,
Washington, D.C., October 11, 1966. Hon. GEORGE P. MILLER, Chairman, Committee on Science and Astronautics, Washington, D.O.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: By letter dated September 12, 1966, Mr. Frank R. Hammill, Jr. of your Committee's staff requested the comments of the General Serv. ices Administration on H.R. 17424, 89th Congress, a bill "To promote and support representation of United States interests in voluntary international commercial standards activities, to establish a clearinghouse for commercial and procurement standards, and for other purposes.”
The purpose of the bill is to enable the Secretary of Commerce to arrange for participation in international standardization of products, and for him to maintain a clearinghouse service for collection and dissemination of information on international standards. Such clearinghouse would also provide a central retrieval system to permit interested persons to determine quickly and inexpensively what information has been collected in any catalogue on existing standards.
Section 3 of the bill provides authority for the Secretary of Commerce to make grants, enter into contracts, and prescribe necessary regulations in the area of international standards. The Secretary would be permitted to establish prices for such material at levels permitting recovery of costs incurred.
GSA representatives have in the past worked with the Department of Commerce in the initial studies performed to determine the feasibility of such a bill. We believe the proposed bill is consistent with the objectives of the Federal standardization program and is not in any way in conflict with GSA's policies and procedures.
Accordingly, GSA recommends the enactment of H.R. 17424.
The Bureau of the Budget has advised that from the standpoint of the Administration's programs, there is no objection to the submission of this report to your Committee. Sincerely yours, LAWSON B. KNOTT, Jr., Administrator.
CORRESPONDENCE FROM INTERESTED PARTIES
Washington, D.O., September 14, 1966.
DEAR MR. HAMMILL: Thank you for your letter of September 12, 1960 requesting the views of The American Institute of Steel Construction, Inc. concerning H.R. 17424. We are honored that you see fit to consult us in such matters.
While the Institute is normally concerned solely with fabrication of structural steel for domestic use, my principals in New York may have some construction suggestions to offer. Consequently, your communication has been referred to them, Yours very truly,
JOHN SOULE, P.E., Senior Regional Engineer.
THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS,
New York, N.Y., September 15, 1966. Mr. FRANK HAMMILL, Counsel, Science and Astronautics Committee, Rayburn Building, Washington, D.O.
DEAR MR. HAMMILL: This Society has been involved in the development of engineering standards almost from the day of its formation in 1880, and we have participated in the growing demand for these industrial tools right up to this very moment. The breadth of our participation in the national standards field in the area of mechanical engineering has been considerable, and for over twenty years we have been active in the field of international standardization. We must go on to say that we were one of the founders of the American Engineering Standards Committee, the predecessor of ASA, newly identified as USASI and a constant supporter of that organization.
Referring again to our activities in the international standards area we have supported international secretariats and visiting representatives to foreign meetings and have had over these last twenty years firsthand evidence of some of the problems involved in support of these activities both under ISO and the IEC. In 1963, representatives of this Society visited the National Bureau of Standards and the Department of Commerce to suggest that some provision be made for help in support of the international standardization work in which we have been engaged. When the so-called LaQue Committee began its meetings in early 1963 we also made representations to that group on the subject of the need for additional support for international standards work. Further, we called attention in a report to that group in mid-1963 that there was a need for complete and centrally collected data on activities in the field of standardization.
It seems to us that Bill H.R. 17424 will provide authority to cover the requests that we mention above and we therefore support its adoption. Yours very truly,
J. H. Harlow, President.
CHEMICAL SPECIALTIES MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION, INC.,
New York, N.Y., September 15, 1966. Mr. FRANK R. HAMMILL, Jr., Counsel, Committee on Science and Astronautics, House of Representatives, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. HAMMILL: This will acknowledge receipt today of your letter of Sept. 12th regarding Chairman Miller's bill H.R. 17424 introduced on Aug. 30th, 1966, to promote and support U.S. interests in voluntary international commercial standards activities.
While the Dept. of Commerce did raise some questions with this Association on this same general subject last winter, this is the first notice we have had with regard to the introduction of a bill or the fact that hearings are scheduled for Sept. 20-22, 1966.
The proximity of the dates will not permit us time to fully review the bill and statement of purpose and need from the Dept. of Commerce which you have sent to me. However, I will be pleased to refer this one copy of the bill and statement which you have kindly sent me, to our legal counsel and further I would request and it would be much appreciated if you would mail me, in the next day or so, 10 or 12 more copies of the bill and statement which certain committee members could then review during the Board of Governors meeting which is to be held on Cape Cod from Sept. 24–28th. Therefore perhaps in the first week of October, we might be in a position to comment more intelligently based on opinions expressed during the Board of Governors meeting. Your cooperation in this matter is much appreciated and thank you for bringing it to our attention. Sincerely yours,
A. A. MULLIKEN, Secretary.
NATIONAL CANNERS ASSOCIATION,
Washington, D.O., September 15, 1966. Hon. J. EDWARD ROUSH, Committee on Science and Astronautics, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR CONGRESSMAN: In acknowledgement of the invitation of Committee Counsel, Frank R. Hammill, Jr., for comment on H.R. 17598, a bill concerning international commercial standards activities, I am pleased to advise you that after careful study of the proposal I will recommend to the food canning industry that the measure have its support.
The National Canners Association has a long record of fostering voluntary programs to encourage the free interchange of commodities in commerce and for over 35 years has had the cooperation of the Department of Commerce in the issuance of Simplified Practice Recommendations for canned fruits and vege tables. Presently, in the international field, we are cooperating with the Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies in the development of the Codex Alimentarius, a code of international food standards for voluntary use, in a project jointly supported by the FAQ and WHO.
Chairman Miller, you and the Department of Commerce are to be commended for taking leadership in recommending H.R. 17598, which I believe will provide for greater assistance by the Department in the development of effective and necessary voluntary international commercial standards programs. Sincerely,
MILAN D. SMITH.