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NIST Seeks Comments on Rule Establishing National Conformity Assessment Program

The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology has announced a request for comments on a proposed rule establishing a National Voluntary Conformity Assessment Systems Evaluation Program.  NVCASE will improve the acceptance of U.S. products in international markets such as the European Community, based on U.S. approvals.

The NVCASE Program will enable the Commerce Department, acting through NIST, to evaluate and recognize competently conducted conformity assessment (product acceptance) activities. The NIST evaluations will provide a basis for the federal government to assure foreign entities that qualified U.S. conformity assessment bodies are competent to satisfy foreign regulatory requirements.

Stanley I. Warshaw, director of the NIST Office of Standards Services, points out that the NVCASE Program is primarily intended to assist U.S. manufacturers in meeting foreign technical regulatory requirements on a cost-effective basis.

NVCASE is designed to cover organizations engaged in product sample testing, product certification and quality system registration, and most especially their accreditors.  NIST will offer its evaluations, based on publicly developed requirements, on a fee-for-service basis and will provide a certificate of recognition to organizations that meet the requirements.

The NVCASE Program stems from previously expressed needs from the private sector related to international trade.  The program will also meet one of the objectives outlined in the June 21, 1991, joint communique between the U.S. secretary of commerce and the vice president of the EC Commission.

The 1991 agreement was reached to ensure that the EC's new system of testing and certification would not disadvantage U.S. exporters.  The secretary instructed NIST to establish a system whereby he could assure other governments that designated U.S. manufacturers, testing laboratories, standards groups, trade associations or other organizations are qualified to test and certify that U.S. products or firms meet the requirements of EC law.

For information on the proposed rule establishing the NVCASE Program, contact John L. Donaldson, chief, Standards Code and Information Program, or Robert L. Gladhill, program manager,  A629 Administration Building, NIST, Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-0001, (301) 975-4029, fax:  (301) 963-2871.

Written comments on the published proposal must be submitted by Oct. 6, 1993, to Stanley I. Warshaw, director, Office of Standards Services, A603 Administration Building, NIST, Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-0001, (301) 975-4000, fax: (301) 963-2871.

NIST is the only federal technology agency with the primary mission of helping U.S. industry to strengthen its competitiveness.  Through research, services, grants and outreach programs, NIST assists industry in developing, adapting and commercializing technologies that lead to greater productivity, higher quality, and new and improved products and services.  NIST is an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department's Technology Administration.

Released August 19, 1993, Updated November 27, 2017