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U.S.-Russia Standards Group To Promote International Trade

U.S. and Russian participants at the third meeting of the Intergovernmental U.S./Russian Business Development Committee's Standards Working Group in Moscow, May 24-25, 1994, will define areas of mutual interest in automotive products, telecommunications equipment, pharmaceuticals and medical devices for the acceptance of conformity assessment measures between the two countries to promote international trade.

A U.S. delegation of more than 20 industry and government officials interested in standards-related trade issues will be led by Stanley I. Warshaw, director of the Office of Standards Services at the U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The meeting will be hosted by the State Committee of the Russian Federation for Standardization, Metrology, and Certification, known as GOSSTANDART. Warshaw and Serguei F. Bezverkhi, president of GOSSTANDART, co-chair the Standards Working Group.

The agenda for the May 1994 meeting will focus on priority items in a joint statement, "Partnership for Economic Progress." This document on the principles and objectives for the development of trade, economic cooperation and investment between the United States and the Russian Federation resulted from a meeting of the Presidential Business Development Mission and the U.S./Russian Business Development Committee in Moscow, March 28-30, 1994.

The statement reads in part: "The two sides consider cooperation in international standardization and openness of conformity assessment indispensable to eliminating or avoiding the creation of technical barriers to trade, and intend to proceed vigorously with the program of work agreed upon in the Joint Communique‚ on Cooperation in Conformity Assessment issued in Moscow on Dec. 16, 1993, at the conclusion of the meetings of the Joint Commission on Technological Cooperation led by Vice President Albert Gore and Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin." The communique‚ commits NIST and GOSSTANDART to develop mutual recognition agreements, or MRAs, for the acceptance of test data required for product certification.

Under SWG, NIST and GOSSTANDART will establish procedures whereby the Russian government will accept test data from laboratories accredited by the U.S. government that are found competent to test products for compliance with the requirements of the Russian Consumer Protection Law of 1993.

Jan Kalicki, U.S. ombudsman and counselor to the Departments of State, Commerce and Energy, stated at the March 1994 meeting that:

  • despite the fact that the U.S. health and safety standards and certification system is acknowledged as the best in the world, Russia does not recognize U.S. test results or product certification;
  • lack of Russian testing facilities and high fees for retesting U.S. products are a rapidly growing impediment to trade. Significant delays in the export of tele- communications and other equipment are being reported; and
  • the U.S./Russia SWG must have the support of the highest levels of government to resolve this.

The Intergovernmental U.S./Russian Business Development Committee was established in 1992 by the U.S. Commerce Department and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations. The aim of SWG is to explore mutually advantageous avenues of cooperation, including promotion of international standards and product acceptance criteria.

As a non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.

Released April 25, 1994, Updated November 27, 2017