globalStandards are vital to the ability of U.S companies to engage in global trade, according to a white paper released today by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) International Policy Committee.

Key Issues Impacting Global Standardization and Conformance: Today and Tomorrow says that expansion of global trade is vital to the growth of the U.S. economy and standards help remove barriers to trade, enforce free trade agreements, and expand foreign markets for U.S. products, services, and personnel.

 “One in every five American factory workers owes his or her job to exports, which have long been a source of strength in the U.S. economy. U.S. exports of manufactured goods alone support about 6.8 million jobs. Exports contribute, on average, an additional 18 percent to workers’ earnings in the U.S. manufacturing sector.”

The paper contends that U.S. companies that do business abroad are exposed to – and typically adopt – internationally accepted standards and conformity assessment practices, which in turn enable them to compete more effectively in the global marketplace.

"Particularly in emerging technology areas – including smart grid, healthcare informatics, energy efficiency, nanotechnology, and cybersecurity – developing and developed economies alike are playing an increasingly significant role in standardization activities."

The white paper says these require cross-sectoral collaboration, which must be supported by new models of standards

"The challenge for today and into the future is to bring diverse parties from various sectors and organizations together to collaborate and develop the needed deliverables" to the 95% of the world's consumers who live outside of the United States.

Stressing the vital importance of U.S. involvement in developing globally relevant, responsive standards, the ANSI IPC white paper reaffirmed the U.S. standardization system’s support of the multiple-path approach to standardization. Standards operating on a world stage are developed in accordance with the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement, which the ANSI says are "– openness, balance, consensus, and due process."