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Europe, China, and the Use of Technical Standards as Trade Barriers

Date: 
Wednesday, May 11, 2005 - 12:00am
Location: 
Washington, D.C.
How should the U.S. Respond?

Opening Statement By Hon. David Wu

Good afternoon and I want to join Chairman Ehlers in welcoming everyone to this afternoon’s hearing.

I will be brief in my remarks, because we are really here to learn about the problems facing industry and what role the government can play to support them.

While standards support the development of new technology and form the basis of commerce, their role and importance is not well-understood by the public or most policy-makers. I welcome the opportunity we have today to learn more about the role of standards in an increasingly global marketplace.

I have some understanding the importance of standards from my prior experience as a lawyer representing high-tech companies on international trade issues in both India and China.  While standards can support commerce, they can also be used as barriers to trade and to promote one technology over another.  We need to ensure that there is a level playing field to ensure that standards are used to promote trade, not hinder it.

I realize that we can’t force other countries to adopt the standards system that is used in the United States.  However, we can ensure that the Federal Government is using its resources to support US standards and industry.  What I hope to learn today is:

  • How can the US Government do a better job in supporting US standards and being responsive to industry’s concerns about standards abuses by other countries?
  • How can coordination among Federal agencies dealing with standards issues be improved?
  • If countries violate standards provisions in the WTO, is the Federal Government vigorous in its prosecution of these violations?
  • And how do the witnesses see U.S. standards development organizations evolving over the next five to ten years?

I applaud the development of a National Standards Strategy under the direction of the American National Standards Institute; however I want to gain a better understanding of the actions and resources required for its implementation.  While the National Standards Strategy lays out a series of ambitious goals, we need to also lay out a plan on how to achieve these goals.

I want to thank our witnesses for taking the time to appear before the Subcommittee today.  And I want to assure them that I consider today to be a first step in a dialogue on how best to improve the competitiveness of US industry.

Witnesses

Panel

1 - Dr. Hratch Semerjian
Director (Acting) National Institute of Standards and Technology National Institute of Standards and Technology
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2 - David Karmol
Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs American National Standards Institute American National Standards Institute
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3 - Robert Noth
Manager of Engineering Standards Deere & Co. Deere & Co.
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4 - Dr. Don Deutsch
Vice President for Standards Strategy and Architecture Oracle Corp. Oracle Corp.
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5 - Joe Bhatia
Executive Vice President for International Operations Underwriters Laboratory Underwriters Laboratory
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Transcript
Link to Government Printing Office PDF file Link to text version Link to text version with speaker index
Serial 109-13
109th Congress