Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub

ing international commercial standards for products, processes, test methods, and performance characteristics of products and processes.

(b) to establish and maintain a clearinghouse service for the benefit of producers, distributors, users, consumers, and the general public, for the collection and dissemination of engineering or product standards and Federal, State, or local procurement standards and information pertaining to such standards from whatever sources, foreign and domestic, that may be available; to collect, translate, catalog, classify, coordinate, and integrate such standards and information pertaining thereto; and to make such standards and the information pertaining thereto available to producers, distributors,

users, consumers, and the general public. SEC. 3. The Secretary of Commerce shall have the authority, within the limits of available appropriations, to do all things necessary to carry out the functions described in section 2 of this Act, including, but without being limited thereto, the authority

(a) to make grants, enter into contracts or other arrangements, or modifications thereof, with any private, nonprofit standards organization or body which he determines represents the general interests of producers, distributors, users, and consumers within a specific industry or in commerce and industry throughout the country generally and which he deems has established adequate procedures to permit participation in the organization by these interests ;

(b) to enter into contracts or cooperative arrangements with any publie or private organizations, institutions, firms, or persons deemed by the Secretary to be qualified to carry out any or all of the functions authorized herein without regard to any other provision of law; and

(c) to establish such policies, criteria, and procedures and to prescribe such rules and regulations as he may deem necessary for the administration of this Act and to carry out the functions authorized thereunder, including the fixing of reasonable prices, fees, or charges for information furnished or services rendered under section 2(b) hereof, notwithstanding the provisions of section 1 of the Act of May 11, 1922 (ch. 189, 42 Stat. 541: 44C".S.C. 72 as amended); and section 307 of the Act of June 30, 1932 (ch. 314, 47 Stat. 409; 44 U.S.C. 72a) ; and the amounts received shall be subject to the Act of March 3, 1901 (ch. 872, 31 Stat. 1449; 15 U.S.C. 271-278e), as amended, and the functions authorized herein shall be considered to be authorized by such Act. To the extent feasible and appropriate, such prices shall reflect the cost of collection, translation, cataloging, classification, coordination, integration, and disssemination of the information and services provided.

including administrative costs. SEC. 4. There are authorized to be appropriated, without fiscal year limitation, such amounts as may be necessary for the purposes of this Act.

SEC. 5. (a) Each recipient of financial assistance under this Act shall keep such records as the Secretary of Commerce shall prescribe, including records which fully disclose the amount and disposition of such financial assistance; the total cost of the related approved program; the amount and nature of the cost of the program supplied by other sources; and such other records as will facilitate an effective audit.

(b) The Secretary and the Comptroller General of the United States, or any of their duly authorized representatives, shall have access to any books, documents, papers, and records of the recipient that are pertinent to amounts paid under this Act.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND NEED

1. INTRODUCTION The National Bureau of Standards of the Department of Commerce has traditionally provided technical support to the activity of U.S. industry in voluntarily developing domestic standards for the United States. The proposed legislation is needed to clarify the authority of the Department through its National Bureau of Standards to promote and participate similarly in voluntary international standardization activities on behalf of U.S. interests.

Since 1921 the National Bureau of Standards has provided industry and

commerce of the United States with substantial technical and administrative assistance in the development and publication of standards for products and commodities and of simplified practices directed to the reduction of sizes and styles. Professional personnel of the Bureau have served on technical committees of many domestic standardization bodies and a limited number of international committees and have led in the development of technically competent engineering standards oriented principally to the performance criteria. The National Bureau of Standards publishes product standards covering many items, particularly when standardization of these items cannot reasonably be accomplished through private standardization organizations.

1 C

II. THE ROLE OF STANDARDS IN COMMERCE Standards are the language of commerce. The seller is encouraged to market new products, confident that by meeting compatible, reliable and accepted standards they will be bought by consumers. The buyer is encouraged to buy because he is assured of a product that meets his requirements and specifications. The establishment of a standard permits, what would otherwise be virtually a hopeless task, the interchangeability of parts. Indeed the whole concept of mass production is based on such a capability.

Interchangeability permits decentralization of manufacturing plants, locating them most advantageous with respect to energy sources, raw materials, labor force, or proximity to market. It permits the greatest number of companies, large and small, to share in the industrial activity. It fosters innovation and the establishment of new businesses by assuring both the entrepreneur and the customer that the new product meets commonly accepted standards. It allows specialization of labor, with all the efficiencies which that brings. Finally, it facilitates control and automation of production processes. It is evident that an excellent system of standards in the United States, therefore, has significantly stimulated the growth of the American economy and the achievement of the highest standard of living in the world. The development of an international system of standards similar to the national system of this country would

Provide the atmosphere in which the United States could compete in world markets on an equal footing with other nations, not handicapped by standards that are incompatible with our own.

Stimulate the economy of all nations, and thereby our own.

Facilitate the maturing of the underdeveloped nations, thereby increasing trade opportunities for all nations and reducing the need for foreign support

programs.
An effective system of international standards, therefore, will tend to do for all
countries what U.S. standards do for us. All nations will be able to exploit their
special skills and technologies so as to participate more fully in world economic
activity, benefitting not only themselves but other nations as well. It is an
economic axiom that a thriving economy in one region depends on a thriving
economy in all regions.

III. CURRENT SITUATION AND NEED IN STANDARDS DEVELOPMENT
A. Development and acceptance of international standards

Standards activity in the United States is basically a voluntary activity with the Federal Government, primarily the National Bureau of Standards, providing technical support.

Likewise, in the field of international standards, involving sovereign nations, standards activity is voluntary because there must be agreement among participating countries to develop and accept a given set of standards. Agreement in connection with international commercial or engineering standards is brought about chiefly through the efforts of such groups as the Organization for International Standardization (ISO), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and Pan American Standards Commission (COPANT). The American Standards Association (ASA) represents the United States unofficially in ISO, IEC, and other international standards organizations, and enlists the technical assistance of both industry and the Federal Government in its international committee activities.

B. Participation in international standardization activities

Participation by U.S. industry in international standardization activities through ASA has been strong in some fields, such as photography, electronics and automatic data processing, but other fields such as rubber goods, packaging, cast iron pipe, and electrical instruments have received little support. Generally, the U.S. has not participated in international standards work at a level commensurate with American interest and capabilities. In some areas American interests have been at a disadvantage in international markets from lack of active participation in the development of an international standard.

Where U.S. industry cannot or does not choose to participate actively in international standards work, ASA looks to other organizations and the Federal Government for technical or financial assistance and support. Reasons for limited industry participation in international standards activities are generally due to a lack of understanding or interest in international standards activities; considerations of short-term gains in special areas rather than the long-range potential impact on the economic welfare of the U.S. as a whole; and the relatively high cost of financing delegates, secretariats and chairmanships. C. Effect of inadequate participation

Inadequate U.S. participation has on occasion resulted in the adoption of standards which put American goods and services at a disadvantage in world trade. For example, some years ago when the Swiss Government placed a ban on the use of American sealed beam headlights because they were deemed ineffective on the sharp-turned, steep-graded Swiss roads, ISO distributed the Swiss standard to other nations which would have prohibited the use of United States sealed beam headlights. Before the ISO recommendation was adopted, however, U.S. industry decided to participate in the ISO project and the recommendation which was ultimately approved enabled the United States to continue the export of headlights in the world market. Similarly, prior to World War II Germany translated an existing American standard for 16 mm sound film but placed the sound track on the side of the film opposite to U.S. practice. Germany promoted the adoption of the translated standard in its own and various European countries, thus, effectively blocking exports of American equipment involving the photographic and motion picture film industries. Here again U.S. efforts through ASA were successful in removing the export barrier. The ASA standard remains in effect today as an ISO standard.

However, not all such situations have been so favorably resolved. For er. ample, at the present time there are differences between European and American standards in the depth and thread of lamp socket and lamp base which reduce U.S. exports for these items. Also draft standards on leather and cement and on color television currently under consideration as international standards, which are different than American standards, may if adopted, become barriers to U.S. export expansion. The absence of an international standard for a system of symbols for marking textiles makes it necessary for U.S. manufacturers to mark shipments in accord with the symbol system of each country, an expense that may make continued trade in this sector in the world market uneconomical D. Need for proposed legislation

The proposed legislation is needed to clarify the authority of the Department of Commerce, through its National Bureau of Standards, to promote and participate in voluntary international standardization activities on behalf of United States interests. It is necessary also to provide authority for the issuance of grants to qualified private non-profit organizations for the promotion and development of international standards in association with foreign standards-making bodies. Finally, it is needed to provide the authority to issue grants to qualified private non-profit organizations for establishment and maintenance of a clearinghouse and clearinghouse services for the collection and dissemination of private and public engineering or product standards.

As may be seen from the examples of the effect of inadequate participation given above, there is a compelling need for a program of more adequate participation by the Federal Government in international standardization activities in order to provide

Support for international standards work is the national interest where industry for some reason is reluctant or unable to participate.

Technical support, committee leadership, and coordinated standards de velopment by Federal agencies, such as the National Bureau of Standards, where unique or outstanding competence exists.

13

An objective, long-range approach to international standards development, especially in instances where the goals to be reached are public as well as private, as in cases where it would be desirable to coordinate standards de velopment with foreign aid programs.

Cooperation with foreign standards-making bodies, particularly in underdeveloped countries, to assure the best possible standards systems. This serves two ends--it makes the countries involved more self-sufficient, and it assures United States industry of an equal opportunity to compete for trade rather than to be faced with standards set up by other, more aggressive nations which weaken the U.S. position.

The translation, publication, and distribution of U.S. standards, and the support of standards libraries in countries where standards work is starting to grow. Again, this would tend to put United States industry on a more equal footing with that of such nations as the United Kingdom and West Germany, which have tended to move quickly into a newly developing area

to set up a preferred position with respect to standards. Development of international standards is considerably complicated by the fact that there are different systems of measurement units and standards metric, English, and others.

With the rest of the world moving in the direction of adopting the metric system, the United States is put at a disadvantage that can be minimized only by greater participation in international standards activities.

A larger role by the Federal Government in stimulating development of compatible international standards is necessary if barriers to the interchange of goods and services are to be minimized and a competitive free economy in the world market maintained. An effort to increase common or compatible international standards, to reconcile standards differences, and to help develop as broad a trade base as possible in international markets is essential. The proposed legislation is aimed at supporting the development of a strong and growing trade in present markets and markets of tomorrow through early and effective participation in international standards activities, on the part of U.S. industry, professional organizations and the Federal Government.

Industrially developed nations, such as those in Western Europe, have recog. nized the direct relationship between their export trade in world commerce and the standards generated in new or less industrialized nations. These European nations thus have moved quickly to assist standards-making bodies of other nations develop their standards and standards-related activities.

The proposed legislation will enable the Federal Government to protect and improve the economic position of American industry by increasing U.S. participation and cooperation with foreign standards-making bodies in their standards activities. Its purpose, therefore, by such means of cooperation and participation, is to encourage and promote the generation or adoption of standards common or compatible with American standards. Appropriate U.S. activities in this connection would include supporting missions to provide consultative and technical advice on training, organizing, managing, and developing commercial or engineering standards systems and activities, including demonstration laboratories; supporting studies of regional or national standards efforts, including recommendations as to what future steps to take; and providing new and less industrialized nations copies of U.S.A. standards or translations.

IV, STANDARDS CLEARINGHOUSE A. Current situation

A great inhibitor to progress in the development and use of standards, both domestic and international, is the lack of communication among the many organizations and agencies that issue standards, as well as the users of standards. All standards-producing bodies have developed some way of publishing and distributing information concerning their standards. However, the systems used by standards-producing bodies vary.

System differences in nomenclature, format, classification of subject matter, and lack of coordination with modern current data retrieval systems, lead to widespread difficulty in locating, understanding and applying standards to current operations. Indeed, government and industry frequently find it difficult to determine whether a standard even exists. No central focal point is presently available to provide a potential user of a standard with a uniform, comprehensive catalog of standards.

Under the circumstances adequate use of a standard, in its own or technologically related fields, cannot be made. Duplicative standards cannot be eliminated. Appropriate revisions of out-moded standards cannot, without great difficulty, be undertaken. B. The need-A clearinghouse

There is need for a Clearinghouse for commercial and procurement standards which will have the following functions:

1. Development of an improved library of standards and government specifications. This will serve as a central source of information on standards and standardizing efforts.

2. Providing a central focal point to which a potential industrial, institutional or governmental user of a standard can refer in order to become aware of the existence of the standard.

3. Development and maintenance of a catalog of existing standards. Such a catalog will go far in eliminating differences in nomenclature, format, etc., which make the present information so unsatisfactory.

4. Development of a central retrieval system to provide a quick and inespensive route to the information contained in this comprehensive catalog. This would make available to subscribers information on such items as titles, numbers, subject matter, technical societies, trade associations, and committee aetivities on domestic and international levels.

In sum, it should be realized that international standards are very much a part of world trade and that foreign standards-making bodies are constantly at work with programs aimed at the improvement and broader application of those standards. Thus, while it may well be argued that international standards do not encompass the depth and breadth of American standards, it nevertheless be hooves the United States to step-up its participation in international standardization activities, not merely to combat competition being waged in foreign countries against American products and services but to expand hitherto undeveloped markets for American industry and commerce. The essentiality of our participation in this area therefore, stated in its most simple terms, is to achieve compatibility for our products based on standards deemed acceptable to foreign methods of operations and systems as well as our own so as to stem the reduction or prevent the exclusion of our sales to foreign markets.

Finally, our cooperation with the emerging nations in developing and improving their commercial standards, which are likely to result in standards patterned largely after our own, will make American products more accessible to their markets, thereby enhancing our economy. More significantly perhaps, such service may reasonably be expected to rally support from such nations for our efforts with foreign standards-making bodies to adopt, whenever possible, American standards as international standards. Such adoption would provide further markets for American industry. This then is the purpose and design of the proposed legislation, whose goal hopefully may be realized from its enactment.

V. SECTION-BY-SECTION SUMMARY OF THE BILL Section I of the legislation shows a recognition by Congress that voluntary standardization of products, both on a national and international basis, pro motes the exchange of goods of high quality to the benefit of the general publie. The bill states as its purpose in support of this Congressional finding, the pro motion and support of representation for United States interests in voluntary international commercial standardization activities and the establishment of information clearinghouses for commercial or procurement standards for the benefit of all concerned.

Section 2 of the bill would authorize the Secretary of Commerce, in cooperation with other interested private and governmental agencies, to promote and support United States participation in the international commercial standardization of products, processes and test methods, through appropriate international organizations, for the purpose of promulgating international commercial standards for products, processes and test methods. He would also be authorized to establish a clearinghouse service for the benefit of producers, distributors, users, consumers and the public. The clearinghouse would collect and disseminate

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »