Transparency, inclusion and the needs of developing nations were among the main topics discussed by the twenty-two top executives representing the national standards bodies of the Asia/Pacific region when they convened at ASTM International for a two-day Open House. The recent event was an open forum for frank discussion regarding today's changing world of international standardisation, with participation from Australia, Chinese Taipei, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, the Philippines, the PeopleÕs Republic of China, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.
The chairman of the World Trade Organisation's Technical Barriers to Trade Committee, Juan Antonio Dorantes, addressed the subject of international standards, namely standards that are transparent, coherent and impartial. A recurring theme was the need for international standards to be inclusive as opposed to exclusive. Also, attendees learned, first hand, that they have the opportunity and freedom to use US generated international standards while still honouring the intent of the World Trade Organisation's obligations to use international standards.
Other discussion points focused on the standardisation needs of developing nations, the need for flexibility within the global standards system and support for small businesses. The guests also challenged their hosts to provide a vision for their organisations in the year 2013, further adding to the meaningful exchange. The Open House was co-sponsored by ASME International, Underwriters Laboratories and ASTM International, in cooperation with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).