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What We Do

Conformity Assessment

Standards expedite trade across borders only when agreed-upon standards are followed consistently. NIST fosters compliance by evaluating conformity assessment accreditation bodies and ensuring adherence to standards specified in international agreements.

  • Conformity Assessment Resources for Federal Agencies: Access conformity assessment-related laws, policies, and topical documents as well as Federal agency conformity assessment program descriptions. 

  • National Voluntary Conformity Assessment Systems Evaluation (NVCASE): NIST, through the Standards Coordination Office (SCO), offers a voluntary program to evaluate and recognize qualified U.S. conformity assessment organizations that demonstrate conformance with specific regulatory requirements.  This program is titled the National Voluntary Conformity Assessment Systems Evaluation (NVCASE) Program and it is described in Code of Federal Regulations, 15 CFR, Part 286.  

  • National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP): The National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) provides third-party accreditation to testing and calibration laboratories in response to legislative actions or requests from government agencies or private-sector organizations. NVLAP-accredited laboratories are assessed against the management and technical requirements published in the International Standard, ISO/IEC 17025:2017.

  • Telecom Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs): Mutual Recognition Agreements/Arrangements (MRAs) for conformity assessment are government-to-government agreements to facilitate trade of telecommunications equipment.  MRAs establish procedures enabling the Parties to recognize each other’s competent conformity assessment bodies (CABs - such as testing laboratories or certification bodies) and to accept the conformity assessment results of those CABs for regulatory purposes.

Education & Training

Standards function most effectively when members of government and industry fully understand their value, development, recognition, and use.

Federal Policy on Standards

The US Government’s role in the development and use of standards and conformity assessment is guided by the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act, OMB Circular A-119, and other federal laws, regulations, and international agreements. 

Standardization Coordination

NIST provides guidance, training, information, and assistance so that companies, government agencies, standards bodies, and others can successfully work together on essential standardization and conformity assessment activities.

Trade & Regulatory Programs

NIST provides a range of resources and activities to help users navigate the complex U.S. and international standards landscape.

  • Standards Information Center: Request quick research, referrals, and publications. The Standards Information Center provides quick reference and guidance on standards-related topics, including navigating complex U.S. and international standards landscape.

  • USA WTO TBT Enquiry Point: Access the latest notifications issued by the World Trade Organization (WTO) under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).




  • Standards Coordination Office
    NIST, 100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 2100
    Gaithersburg, MD 20899-2100
Created April 19, 2016, Updated July 13, 2023