As an initial step toward removing any measurement-related barriers to trade between the United States and the European Union—and eliminate "double testing" of each other’s products—NIST has established a toll-free phone number, (888) 59-1TEST (591-8378). The new number provides a simple means of reporting concerns with existing policies that determine how the two blocs accept or reject each other’s measurements. Especially encouraged to call are American companies who have been required to repeat a measurement in the EU or have it conducted solely by an EU member laboratory because U.S. measurements were unacceptable.
While the new phone number allows for measurement discrepancies in any area to be reported, NIST is particularly interested in hearing about problems in the following five: avionics, environmental protection, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, electro-magnetic compatibility and interference, and occupational health and safety.
The information collected will be evaluated to determine if acceptance decisions were based on significant differences in measurement capabilities between U.S. and EU labs. When differences are reported, NIST and the EU will conduct the necessary measurement comparisons to eliminate them. To keep new compatibility problems from occurring as technology advances, the results of all comparisons will be incorporated into an international comparison database. This database will provide an online expert system for answering inquiries on traceability to standards laboratories, international equivalency of measurements and other compatibility issues.
The NIST-led international database project is expected to take three years to complete. Concurrently, the standards organization EUROMET is developing the database’s European portion by identifying and defining measurement differences between the standards bodies of its members.
Along with the toll-free phone number, those wishing to report measurement differences to NIST can send their correspondence by electronic mail to oiaa [at] nist.gov (oiaa[at]nist[dot]gov).
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.