In addition, all federal regulatory and procurement agencies should become dues-paying members of ANSI. Dues will support government's fair share of ANSI's infrastructure expenses.
Expansion of global trade is increasingly important to domestic economic growth, productivity, and high-wage employment opportunities in the United States. The reduction of barriers to international commerce and aggressive promotion of U.S. exports must continue to be the fundamental objectives of a post-Uruguay Round trade strategy. At the multilateral level, the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) achieved significant progress in reducing barriers related to discriminatory standards and national product testing and certification systems.
There is evidence to indicate that the growing complexity of conformity assessment systems in many nations threatens, however, to undermine future global trade expansion. U.S. exporters face high costs in gaining product acceptance in multiple export markets. Many nations impose duplicative, discriminatory requirements for product testing, certification, and quality system registration. The European Union's (EU's) mechanisms for approving regulated products, in particular, continue to pose serious barriers to expanded export opportunities for U.S. firms. Clearly, the severity of these obstacles varies by industry sector. From a national perspective, it is important, however, to achieve a rapid, negotiated removal of EU barriers. This will serve both to expand trade opportunities with our European partners, and to help promote the success of similar negotiations between the United States and other trading partners, especially those in the emerging economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
Agreements between governments to recognize national conformity assessment mechanisms have a great potential to facilitate trade. A network of global mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) would enable manufacturers to test products once and obtain certification and acceptance in all national markets. At the regional level, for example, a successful conclusion to discussions within the