The U.S. voluntary standards system is designed to help businesses and other stakeholders develop and promote product measurement, standards and technology in order to enhance productivity, facilitate trade and compete successfully in a global marketplace, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. Specifically, the voluntary standards system is spurring the development of Smart Grid, healthcare IT, cyber security and emerging technologies and contributes to America’s leadership in the global economy.

“Standards can become either trade-facilitating measures that benefit companies, workers and consumers or, alternatively, they can become serious new trade barriers as countries use them to favor their own products over U.S. competitors,” said Shaun Donnelly, senior director, international business policy at the NAM.

NAM has an initiative underway to inform Congress, the administration and the public of the vital role the voluntary standards system plays in promoting U.S. innovation and global competitiveness.

“Manufacturers are working with President Obama’s Administration and members of Congress to ensure that all the relevant government players understand the fundamental importance of maximizing our standards system to support U.S. global competitiveness,” Donnelly said.