CII - ANSI - BIS - USTDA Standards and Conformance Cooperation Program
Written by Vijay   
Monday, 23 February 2009
80% World Trade is Facilitated by Standards

In order to be competitive and increase their overall productivity, companies in the US and India need to comply with industry standards, regulations and measures so that they are in compliance with each other.
This was the agenda of the US India Standards and Conformance Cooperation Program (SCCP) which was designed to help companies and augment Indo-US trade by enhancing cooperation on standards and conformance issues.

The event was sponsored by US Trade Development Agency (USTDA) and organised jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), American National Institute (ANSI) and Bureau of Indian Statistics (BIS).
Mr Yashwant Bhave, Secretary, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, said in his address that adverse results of non-adherence to standards can be seen not only on the economy but also on cultural and social issues. "Standards are market as well as trade facilitators," he said. Citing a survey by the National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST), he said, "80 per cent of the world trade is facilitated by standards." Setting standards helps against consumer exploitation, enlarging and reaping economies of scale while serving as means of disseminating information and helping in innovation, Mr Bhave said, adding, "If a nation has consumers demanding quality and quantity of goods produced, then ultimately the standards will be developed."
Mr Sharad Gupta, Director General, Bureau of Indian Standards, spoke from the perspective of the Indian standards community. He said, "In case there are disputes, standards and conformance can help prevent it," adding, "having standards is fine, but only when all the players are in line." He said that the standards are important not only for consumers, but also for industries to protect their own interests.
Ms Holly Vineyard, Deputy Assistant Secretary, International Trade Administration, US Department of Commerce and Mr Mark Dunn, Regional Manager of Asia, US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), presented the US trade perspective. Ms Vineyard focused on enabling partnerships between countries. "Partnerships between countries help small companies to come on the global stage and happen only when all the countries are speaking the same language."  Emphasizing on quality, she said, "standards are critical to all companies, not only large ones so that they can compete on the global stage and increase the commercial base for the company." Mr Dunn stressed upon free trade between countries. "Free trade leads to improved transparency and shrinking trade barriers," he said. "Technology transfers, information sharing, productivity enhancement are boosted due to free trade between nations," he added.
Mr Anil Mukim, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, presented the Indian perspective. He said that India and US have multidimensional relationships and "India is looking forward to international markets." Commenting on Indian exports worldwide, he said, "Indian exports are low at 1.4 per cent of the world market but rising slowly. They have tripled in the last three years." Informing that an Indian and US trade policy forum was set up in 2005 to look after trade relations between the two nations, he said, "an Indo US commercial dialogue is a necessity for the development of listing the requirements that are necessary for entering and competing in the US market."  On the economic crisis, he said that India is expected to grow at 7 per cent this year. "This is the time for greater cooperation since no company will be able to get over the crisis alone," he stressed.
Mr Giridhar Gyani, Secretary General, Quality Council of India, said that there were five major components in quality checking -- setting standards, metrology, accredition, and certification and testing. "Standards provide confidence and global acceptance to industries," he added. Commenting on the level of regulatory mechanisms in India, he said, "Regulatory standards are needed in the industrial and social sector, but India lacks them. SCCP will certainly bridge the gap between industry and external formulation."
Mr Joe Bhatia, President and CEO, American National Standards Institute (ANSI), said that in spite of the economic meltdown, there was no better time to talk about trade than today. "Alliance between India and the US is creating multitudes. Indian companies in the US are thriving and the same is true for US companies in India," he said adding, "ANSI, BIS and CII have jointly entered into a MoU so as to help companies target the right information and disseminate it to the right kind of people and thus ensure the success of their business initiatives."
Mr Bhaskar Bhat, Chairman, CII Gems & Jewellery Committee and Managing Director Titan Industries Ltd, said in his the vote of thanks that "collective work that the industry can do in terms of standards can change the image of the country." In this regard, he compared standards to the flag of a country.

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