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was developing standards in its field under the secretariatship of the Italians that would virtually rule out any participation by that industry in international trade in other countries. That industry very quickly almost too late found this out and does participate very, very actively in international standardization. It is one of the most active in that area in the country today.
Mr. Roush. Could you identify the industry?
Mr. MARSHALL. It was the data processing industry, such companies as IBM, and that group.
Another major industry was late in participating and is having a real si ruggle at the technical table now in getting American standards introduced into the international recommendations. It has taken some years for them to really accomplish what could have been accomplished very effectively by participation at the early stage and it was a shortsighted view on their part at that stage that resulted in this.
The reluctance of the American Standards Association to undertake the establishment of such a clearinghouse in the past has been based primarily on the insufficiency of funds for this purpose. The proposal contained in this bill would permit this to be undertaken and fulfill an extremely valuable need for both industry and Government.
While we recognize and concur in the intent of the bill, we believe that it could be strengthened in several specific places.
First, the title of the bill refers to international commercial standards activities and a clearinghouse for commercial and procurement standards. These terms tend to narrow the areas covered by the bill unduly, for the standards with which we are concerned here are not limited to commercial or commercial and procurement standards, but include broadly those standards covered by the terms "industrial and commodity.”
We would recommend that the title of the bill be amended to read: To promote and support representation of United States interests in voluntary international industrial and commodity standards activities, to establish a clearinghouse for standards, and for other purposes.
Second, the bill refers to "products.” The broad term of industrial and commodity standards includes such varied characteristics and relationships as performance, chemical composition, physical and mechanical properties, dimensions, color, nomenclature, and test methods. We would suggest that the bill could be strengthened by changing the beginning of section 1 to read:
That Congress finds that voluntary industrial and commodity standards with appropriate participation in the international standards process.
Third, section 2 (a) of the bill in line 21 refers to the “issuing” of international standards. We believe the more accurate term would be "development” of international standards, rather than “issuing," for the purpose of U.S. participation in international standardization is to develop international recommendations that will have the minimum adverse effect on U.S. trade.
Fourth, section 2(b) of the bill authorizes the Secretary of Commerce “in cooperation with private United States standards organizations or bodies *** to establish and maintain a clearinghouse service. * * *
We believe that, in keeping with the free enterprise system in the United States of America, it is most important that the
clearinghouse of information on standards and standards activities be established cooperatively by industry and government within a private voluntary standards body. Such a body could well be the U.S.A. Standards Institute. This proposal would find more ready acceptance if operated within the Institute and could assist materially in supporting the Institute by encouraging more segments of the economy to turn to the Institute for information on standards and standardization activities.
I might say here that there is a safety valve in the legislation as I read it because if this does not prove satisfactory, then the Secretary of Commerce does have the authority to withdraw support and do the job within the Department of Commerce.
Fifth, one of the important functions of the translation activity referred to in section 2(b), line 6, page 3, is actually in connection with participation in international standardization, for while all three international organizations have English as an official language, in the interest of expediency the recommendations that are referred to the various countries are frequently in the language of the country holding the secretariat and the necessity for translation causes delays in the transmittal of the recommendations for the development of a U.S. position by the technical committees responsible here in the United States.
In summary, we support H.R. 17424 as an important step in the cooperative venture between industry and government which is so necessary for U.S. success in voluntary industrial and commodity standardization, both domestically and internationally. We do, however, believe that clarification as suggested above need be made before it is adopted.
Mr. Roush. Thank you, Mr. Marshall.
Mr. Roush. We are grateful for the statement you have made, and the suggestions you make will certainly be given attention by the committee and by our staff. We will also request the Department of Commerce to comment on these suggestions.
I have no further questions of the witness, and if there are no questions by other members, we will excuse the witness.
Mr. Vivian, you indicated that you might have questions?
Mr. MARSHALL. Might I add something, in connection with participation in international standardization, I don't know whether it has been brought out or not, but there are in ISO approximately 107 technical committees on many varied aspects including such things as food.
Mr. Roush. We have had different figures; one is 115 and one 118.
Mr. MARSHALL. I think it is in excess of 107 today, but of the secretariats of these various technical committees the vast majority are held by England, 25; France holds at least 18; we hold 10 in the United States; the Netherlands holds 9; and then there is a scattering among the other countries.
This is an indication of the lack of adequate participation by the United States for there are many of these areas that we have a very definitive interest in and could have offered to accept the secretariat if the funds for the support had been forthcoming.
Mr. Roush. Is the fact that we have held so few of these secretariats due to the lack of the Government participation in this country!
Mr. MARSHALL. No. Government has participated. Government is represented and participates in ASTM. On every one of our technical committees there is Government representation. I know that the National Bureau of Standards has participated particularly in other international activities through the American Standards Association, but the extent of that participation has been extremely limited. Most of it has been the participation in the review and development of American standards and in the review of the international recommendations as they come here. There is a need, in our opinion, for a strengthening on a cooperative basis, not just Government or just industry, but it has got to be done by both for after all the Government is the biggest consumer in the country.
Mr. Roush. The reason for the question was that I wondered what has made the difference. Why has England so many participants and why have we so few; what really is the reason for this?
Mr. MARSHALL. Well, I think there are two reasons. I will give the lesser reason first. Much of the work in international standardization is done in Europe and the cost of travel and support to this activity within Western Europe is relatively small. We have an ocean to cross to get there.
But the more important reason is that the British Standards Institution which represents Great Britain in ISO does have cooperative financial support by a Crown grant that amounts to about one-third of their total budget. This permits them to support participation in international standards activities commensurate with the economic interests of Great Britain.
We have had to go out and in effect pass the hat to industry to try to stimulate and encourage them to support participation in an international standards activity. The cost of a secretariat runs about–it varies, but my guess is that it would average perhaps $20,000 to $25,000 a year for the administrative work of holding the secretariat of an international technical committee.
In addition to that, there is the cost of supplying the people to visit the committee and subcommittee and working group meetings, most of which takes place in Europe.
Mr. Roush. Mr. Vivian
Mr. VIVIAN. I would like to come back to the subject of participation in various activities. You indicated every committee has government participation.
Mr. MARSHALL. Yes.
Mr. VIVIAN. Who decides who shall participate from the government?
Mr. MARSHALL. The interested government agencies make that decision.
Mr. Vivian. Would you invite the agencies to send participants?
Mr. MARSHALL. We open our technical committees to membership by any interested qualified individual with the one restriction that the producers in membership on a committee may not outnumber the nonproducers.
Mr. VIVIAN. Now, the subject of consumers has been raised a number of times and some matters have been mentioned which go to the interests of consumers. There is a pertinent problem. Baby toys I pre
sume are in the consumer group, but for many industrial products the only consumer is another industry. I presume there are many products for which the general consumer is not even interested in being present.
How do you handle a consumer in these different roles ?
Mr. MARSHALL. It is rather difficult to get qualified representation to contribute technically to a technical committee of an organization such as ASTM from that type of consumer. We have to depend on consumers. They don't manufacture the materials that are used, they are the ones that use the materials, and they are the ones that you and I discontinue using if we don't like the job they do on us. They are most interested.
Mr. VIVIAN. Voluntary.
Mr. MARSHALL. That is right. The actual man-on-the-street type of consumer in the activities of ASTM other than that which we all as individual consumers have an interest in, seldom appears in the membership of our technical committees and I think this is understandable, too. We have to depend upon membership from such groups as GSA, for example, that does tend to look out for the consumer in a sense, independent educators, unattached consultants, consultants that are 110t under contract or retained by either a producer or an industrial consumer, but they do look at it as professional people.
Mr. VIVIAN. Do you have representatives from various large unions?
Mr. MARSHALL. Consumers Union or Consumers Research are both members. They make the choice as to the committee they wish to participate in.
Mr. VIVIAN. Let's go to page 6. You indicate that you would like to see the clearinghouse operation performed not by the Government, but rather performed by an organization such as USASI as an agent of the Government, I gather, and you indicate this would find more ready acceptance, could get industry assistance in supporting this, is that right?
Mr. Marshall. In the clearinghouse function, yes, but as I visualize it and I think I indicated the formation would not be supported by the Government, it would be formed by cooperative agreement in the actual planning of the organization and operation as a cooperative venture between industry and Government.
Mr. VIVIAN. There is a clearinghouse within the Department of
Mr. MARSHALL. Yes.
Mr. MARSHALL. If the operation in USASI were adequately established and organized to fill the real bill, then I would say yes, I would close that clearinghouse.
Mr. VIVIAN. Is that the recommendation of the Department of Commerce?
Mr. MARSHALL. I don't know what the recommendation of the Department of Commerce is.
Mr. VIVIAN. Mr. Chairman, I would appreciate information in the record on that question from the Department of Commerce.
Mr. Roush. We will see that it is requested and inserted in the record. (Information requested is as follows :) GENERAL COUNSEL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE,
Washington, D.C., October 3, 1966. Hon. J. EDWARD ROUSH, Chairman, Select Subcommittee of the Committee on Science and Astronautics,
House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN : This is in response to your request for the views of the Department of Commerce on questions raised during recent hearings on H.R. 17424, proposed legislation to promote international standards activities and to provide standards information services.
The bill presently recognizes the responsibility of the Secretary of Commerce for supporting both international standards activities and for providing standards information services. He would be authorized to support these activities either directly through government programs or by grants and contracts to qualified nonprofit institutions. The major questions raised in the hearings were concerned with how much of the activities would be done by government and how much would be done by the private sector.
INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS ACTIVITIES The statements presented at the hearings and the record make abundantly clear the need for the Federal Government to increase its support within the voluntary international standards process. The proposed legislation would permit this kind of support to be done either by government or by Federal support of private international standards activities through grants and contracts. There was testimony that the bill should be administered through a cooperative government-private program concentrating heavily on the support of existing private standards organizations which meet the criteria in the legislation. It was also pointed out by Congressman John D. Dingell that the government should have staff adequate to protect the public interest. One witness testified that government should be more involved in representing the interests of the United States in the international standards process.
In our view, sound policy calls both for the participation of government and for the support of the qualified private standards bodies. The Department presently participates in these activities in cooperation with standards organizations. This legislation essentially is authority for a limited grant program to support the international work of the qualified standards groups, as well as the information activities.
The Secretary of Commerce would be responsible for surveying the areas of international standards activities which might be supported most fruitfully and for allocating funds to those areas through grants and contracts. He should have adequate tools and staff for this function which would include long-range planning, considering our international trade position, and maintaining appropriate economic and technical ability to assure maximum longterm benefit to the country as a whole. He would consult with industry and private standards bodies in this process.
From the broad areas surveyed, the Department would assign priorities for funding based upon such important national goals as opportunities for reducing barriers which would have significant impact on our balance of trade or our balance of payments. In those areas of paramount public interest in which the international trade position of the United States is vitally concerned, the government would be expected to take the leading role in representing the United States interests, either through government-to-government contact or by taking initiative to encourage private bodies to increase their international activities. In those areas which are important but involve mainly the expansion of private markets through voluntary harmonization of standards, the private standards groups and industry could be expected to exercise leadership.
Grants would be made in general areas of demonstrated need. The terms of a grant could include participation by government technical people on the working committees. It would be expected in any event that government would increase its technical support on these committees. The Department of Commerce would expect to evaluate and review the effectiveness of government support in achieving the goal of harmonizing national and international stand