h1

ITA’s Office of Standards and Investment Policy

October 2, 2018

Did you know that ITA has an Office of Standards and Investment Policy? Candice Appiakorang in ITA’s Office of Public Affairs sat down with Eileen Hill, Team Leader for Standards in the Office of Standards and Investment Policy to get an in-depth look into the importance of standards and testing to exporters.

Keep reading to find out how this office helps goods and services to move easily between markets!

Candice: What is the Office of Standards and Investment Policy?Teamwork

Eileen: The Office of Standards and Investment Policy (OSIP) is in the Industry & Analysis unit of the International Trade Administration (ITA). The Standards Team in OSIP focuses on addressing standardization issues before they become market barriers. The Standards Team also seeks to ensure trading partners accept the standards U.S. manufacturers use to satisfy regulatory requirements, which helps our companies avoid re engineering products or undergo unnecessary, costly testing. Additionally, the Standards Team in OSIP works proactively to ensure that U.S. stakeholders can participate in standards development to protect their market access opportunities.

Candice: How do standards and testing support global sales?

Eileen: Standards are the foundation that enables global trade, competitiveness, and technology development. Standards are essential to accelerating the widespread commercialization of new technologies and enabling goods to move easily between markets. Testing demonstrates that a product complies with a specific standard and builds confidence that a product will perform as stated. Together standards and testing help improve access to global markets, thereby strengthening global trade.

Candice: To export successfully, you clearly need to know how to navigate the global standards, testing and regulatory landscape. What are the first steps an exporter should take to become aware of this important information?

Eileen: Export.gov is a helpful resource. ITA’s Country Commercial Guides are an excellent starting point to find everything you need to know about doing business overseas. These guides have a standards and regulations section to help you decide if a market is right for your product or service. The Top Markets Reports from Industry & Analysis include information on the global regulatory landscape for 27 sectors. Exporters should also consider signing up for the free Notify US service, administered by Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), to learn about and comment on technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures proposed by trading partners that could impact market access. Information can be customized by sector or country. Another useful website is NIST’s www.standards.gov, which has industry guides, including on the China Compulsory Certificate (CCC) mark. Our trade specialists around the world can help you navigate the full menu of ITA services; first-time exporters should connect with their local U.S. Export Assistance Center..

Candice: What are some tools exporters can use to address specific standards export problems?

Eileen: ITA has a complete toolbox. We can assist in resolving transactional issues via our network of offices around the globe, which can connect with the appropriate foreign ministry or standards body to resolve technical issues. OSIP works to foster public-private partnerships to tackle standardization challenges; connects U.S. and foreign regulators on specific sector issues; and promotes U.S. standardization solutions that underpin emerging technologies. Much of this work happens in regional fora such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). ITA also raises standards issues in ITA-led bilateral exchanges, the commercial dialogues ITA organizes with U.S. trading partners, trade agreement discussions, and at the World Trade Organization.

Candice: And for our readers who have not reached international markets just yet, what are some things they could do to prepare for standards that may impact potential global sales?

Eileen: Get involved in the standards development work relevant to your products! Taking a seat at the table will ensure that your interests are reflected. Contact our office to learn more about standards!