Joanne Littlefair is a Senior International Trade Specialist in Industry and Analysis’s Office of Materials Industries. She serves as Team Lead for the MDCP with ASTM International and International Code Council.
International markets supported more than $86 billion in exports for U.S. building product manufacturers in 2015. In fact, construction is expected to remain a growth sector globally looking forward, and a trend toward more sustainable “green” construction has swept world markets. ITA makes its mark on reducing and preventing technical barriers to trade in building products and services through its Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) with ASTM International. Focusing on the dynamic Gulf Cooperation Council states in the Middle East , the MDCP advances knowledge and solutions in a key element of trade facilitation: international standards.
International standards, along with building codes and technical regulations that reference such standards, play an important role in facilitating global trade by creating the certainty in which buyers and sellers thrive. High-quality, widely accepted international standards create a common language and common technical understanding, providing authoritative requirements for materials and products, procedures, and testing. A recent ITA study showed technical regulations potentially linked to 92 percent of U.S. goods exports in 2015.
In 2014, ITA launched its MDCP with ASTM International and code partner International Code Council (ICC) to share existing solutions and approaches with Gulf partners tackling complex sustainable construction challenges. The multi-year program includes workshops in the Gulf to learn about leaders’ priorities and initiatives, Gulf official delegation visits to the U.S. to engage in standards development and building code development activities, and a variety of hands-on and virtual training in green building topics.
Full details about the ITA MDCP, along with all presentations, webinar videos and other materials are publicly available and can be found at the ASTM program website. The most recent MDCP event was the October 20th ASTM-ICC-ITA Standards and Codes for Sustainable Construction workshop in Dubai with government and industry leaders. This workshop built on multiple events during Discover America week in Dubai, in which ASTM International’s senior leaders discussed the importance of standards to a wide variety of growing industries.
ITA projects $4 billion in new export opportunities in 2018 for just a subset of industries that benefit from the growth of green building: HVAC, lighting, plumbing, wood products, insulation, doors and windows, and glass.
Finally, ITA provides an excellent resource guide in its new and fascinating export market report 2016 Top Markets: Building Products and Sustainable Construction. This report projects which international markets will hold greatest value for these U.S. building products exporters in 2018 and provides detailed country case studies of leading markets.
Stay Informed and Engage in International Standards Development
Sign up for Notify U.S.to review and comment on proposed regulations around the world. Notify U.S. is a free, web-based information service designed to disseminate World Trade Organization Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (WTO TBT) notifications. It features e-mail notifications of changes to domestic and foreign technical regulations for industrial products (including product packaging, marking and labeling) and offers complete texts of proposed regulations for review and comment.
Sign up for ITA Standards Alert to learn about opportunities to participate in standards development in organizations such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Standards Alert is an ITA service in cooperation with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the private sector coordinator of the U.S. Standards system. U.S. company participation is key to making sure that standards do not become trade barriers.