The United States and China highlighted the importance of open trade and investment by signing a new agreement on December 4, 2008 in Beijing. The Protocol between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine the People's Republic of China on Cooperation in Metrology, Standards and Conformity Assessment was signed by Commerce Deputy Secretary John Sullivan and AQSIQ Minister Wang Yong. The Protocol is intended to renew U.S and Chinese cooperation in facilitating bilateral trade, improving product quality, and increasing the development of technical standards and collaboration in the field of measurement science.
Enhanced cooperation under the agreement is expected to include;
Exchange and provision of information concerning metrology, standards and conformity assessment practices;
Organization of workshops, periodic exchange of information on the latest development in the fields of metrology, standards and conformity assessment, and exchange of views on issues of common interest;
Collaborative research and development, including the conduct of joint experiments, tests, and other technical activities;
Enhancement of metrology, standards and conformity assessment related cooperation in market-relevant fields;
Cooperation and information exchange between Inquiry Points and Notification Authorities established under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement;
Exchange of scientists, including visits and research studies by teams or individuals of one Party to the facilities of the other; and
Comparison of measurement standards.
At least three working groups will be created under this Protocol;
1. A Metrology Working Group with Points of Contact between the Foreign Affairs Office at the National Institute Metrology (NIM) in China and the Office of International and Academic Affairs at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US.
2. A Documentary Standards Working Group with Points of Contact between the International Cooperation Department at the Standardization Administration of China (SAC) and Technology Services at NIST.
3. A Conformity Assessment Working Group with Points of Contact between the International Cooperation Department at the Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) and the Standards Services Division (SSD) at NIST.
More efficient transactions in the global marketplace depend increasingly on our ability to promote the effective development and use of standards and this partnership with AQSIQ will ensure that consumers are confident of the quantity and quality of the product purchased. This collaboration on measurement and standards with China will help increase the well-being of their citizens by improving the quality of the water, the air, and the food, as well as the accuracy of their medical tests and treatments.