Standards Update

By: 
May 17, 1999

Far East plays expanding role in ISO's planning, programs

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is paying increasing attention to Asia. In October, the ISO General Assembly and Council will hold its annual meeting in Beijing. Coming up later this year, too, are key meetings of ISO technical committees in Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, and Kyoto. For the first time, the Sri Lanka Standards Institution has been elected to the 18-member ISO Council, which also includes standards organizations from India, Malaysia, Japan, and Singapore. In his final full year as ISO president, Liew Mun Leong of Singapore visited with national standards officials in Hanoi, Beijing, and Tokyo to solidify ties with the international organization. He also convinced the General Assembly to pass a resolution urging ISO members to contribute at least 2% of their 1999 annual subscription to the ISO Program for Developing Countries. Last November, ISO signed a pact with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development to jointly promote global standards among developing nations to help them trade on world markets. For details, FAX +41 22 749 01 55 or e-mail mbinfo@iso.ch.

Southeast Asian countries assent to harmonization program with EU

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) have agreed to work more closely for compatible quality structures, standards, and conformity assessment procedures. Under a jointly signed memorandum of understanding, EU will contribute $6.12 million U.S. dollars during five years to co-finance the program. One aim is to develop a pool of ASEAN specialists on European standards and conformity assessment. The Secretary General of ASEAN, Rodolfo C. Severino, Jr. of the Philippines, tells Design News the agreement will promote a "quality culture" in his region. That, he adds, will enable ASEAN products to gain greater market access, particularly to Europe.The EU has been supporting and providing technical assistance to ASEAN in many other sectors, including intellectual property rights, science, and technology. Contact the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta. Phone (62-21) 726 2991, 724 3372, or FAX (62-21) 739 8234, 724 3504.

Japan, South Korea lead world in environmental certificates

ISO 14000 has won wide acceptance in the most-industrialized nations of the Far East. ISO first published its series of global standards for environmental management in September 1996. Results of a survey recently completed show that at the end of 1997 organizations in Japan held the most ISO 14000 certificates, 713. The Republic of Korea was second highest with 463. In third place: the United Kingdom. In all, 5,017 environmental certificates were held in 55 countries. To collect the figures, ISO contacted some 130 organizations, primarily accreditation and certification bodies. The survey also counted certificates for ISO 9000, the series of standards for quality management. Ten years after ISO 9000 was first published, organizations in 129 countries achieved a total of at least 226,349 of the quality management certificates. That represents a gain of 39.1% over the number of certificates at the end of 1996 in 116 countries. You can order a free copy of "The ISO Survey of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 Certificates: Seventh Cycle--1997'' (ISBN 92-67-10284-2) from ISO and its national members or from ISO Online at http://www.iso.ch.

Vietnam revises its standards to appeal to market economy

As Vietnam shifts from a closed economy to a structure that is more market-oriented, a massive overhaul of that country's standards is underway. In the former centrally planned economy almost all national standards were compulsory. As a result, Vietnam's standards for most products fail to harmonize well with those in other countries. The country's Directorate for Standards and Quality is pursuing a three-stage plan to revise national standards based on ISO guidelines. The current stage involves learning ISO methodologies through meetings with more-experienced ISO members and figuring out what the functions and responsibilities should be for various technical committees. E-mail Nguyen Huu Thien at thien@netnam.org.vn.

Indonesia creates stronger agency for standardization activities

Only a year and a half old, Badan Standardisasi Nasional (BSN) has become the cynosure of Indonesia's involvement in regional and international standardization activities. The government has reduced the old Dewan Standardisasi Nasional, known as the Standardization Council of Indonesia, to an advisory agency. BSN was formed to improve Indonesia's position in global trade. It is attempting to coordinate national standards development, testing and calibration laboratories, certification bodies, and technical inspection agencies. BSN also takes over as Indonesia's representative in ISO and other international standards groups. Phone Herudi Kartowisastro at +62 21 5747043 or E-mail him at bsn-std@rad.net.id.

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