The U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), the National Center for Metrology (Centro Nacional de Metrologia—CENAM) and the Director General for Standards (Direccion General de Normas—DGN) of Mexico have signed memorandums of understanding to establish two organizations: NORAMET and the North American Calibration Cooperation (NACC).
The two organizations will serve as a framework to promote closer North American cooperation between the three countries in areas of metrology and calibration laboratory accreditation as part of an overall effort to reduce non-tariff barriers to trade.
The inaugural meeting of representatives from the three countries will take place April 30, 1994, at Quer‚taro, Mexico, following the April 29 dedication of the new Mexican metrology laboratory. A U.S. delegation will be led by George A. Sinnott, director of the NIST Office of International and Academic Affairs.
Sinnott points out that by signing the MOUs, the countries declared their intention to cooperate in areas leading to mutual recognition arrangements between the three nations concerning metrological development and services and the development of mutual confidence in national calibration laboratory accreditation programs.
NORAMET will be a North American regional collaboration in national measurement standards and services. It will be made up of representatives of the primary reference laboratories of the member countries, NIST, NRC and CENAM. The goals of NORAMET are:
- to develop closer collaboration between the members in projects connected to measurement and metrological services while respecting their obligations within their own countries;
- to optimize the utilization of resources and services of the members and to encourage the development of these toward perceived metrological needs;
- to encourage the sharing of major facilities in order to achieve efficiency and avoid duplication when feasible; and
- to improve measurement services and make them accessible to all members within limits agreed upon by the members.
The North American Calibration Cooperation effort will be directed to the development of mutual confidence in national calibration laboratory accreditation programs. NACC also will provide the regional structure to negotiate calibration agreements with similar organizations in other regions of the world such as EUROMET, and the European Cooperation for Accreditation of Laboratories (EAL).
Under NACC, the signatories NIST, NRC, SCC, DGN and CENAM, recognize each other as having primary responsibility in their respective countries for the maintenance of accreditation programs for calibration laboratories.
The NACC members intend to promote close collaboration between the calibration laboratory accreditation and assessment programs they have implemented, or intend to implement, such as the Calibration Laboratory Assessment Service (CLAS) and the Program for Accreditation of Laboratories in Canada (PALCAN), the calibration program and National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) in the United States, and the Servicio de Certificacion de Laboratorios de Calibracion (SECLAC) and the Sistema Nacional de Calibracion (SNC) in Mexico.
A non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.