tension and cooperation is its relationship with standards developers and users in the U.S. government.67 As a matter of policy, federal agencies are committed to adopt voluntary consensus standards to the greatest possible extent, rather than developing new, government-unique standards. In the final section of the chapter, cooperation and sources of tension between ANSI and the U.S. government related to federal participation in the voluntary standards system are discussed. In the next section, however, U.S. participation in international standards development through ANSI and other avenues is examined.
The two predominant international standards-setting bodies in the world are the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission. ISO and IEC are private organizations that develop standards in nearly all sectors of industry and technology. The largest exception to their coverage is international telecommunication standardization, which is the domain of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). ITU is a treaty organization with membership comprised of government representatives from 160 countries. U.S. representation at ITU is coordinated by the Department of State.68 As private agencies, ISO and IEC accept as members the national standards organizations, whether public or private, of their member countries. ANSI is the U.S. national member of ISO and IEC, the latter through the ANSI-coordinated U.S. National Committee. (See Box 2-1 for additional background information and comparisons of ISO, IEC, and ITU).
International standards development processes resemble those of U.S. private SDOs in many respects.69 ISO and IEC prepare standards within a decentralized technical committee structure, drawing on volunteer technical experts from various member countries. Administrative support for technical committees is provided by a secretariat, from one of the participating countries. Standards are drafted through consensus. Voting within committees and in the organization at large, unlike many national SDOs, is by national delegation. As a result, a large country such as the United States has the same vote as a small country.
U.S. positions for international standardization activities are developed by volunteer experts within technical advisory groups (TAGs). ANSI coordinates the formation of U.S. TAGs corresponding to technical committees at the international level. In addition, on issues that the U.S. standards community considers of particular importance—such as standards affecting large shares of U.S. exports—ANSI and the U.S. standards community make efforts to obtain ISO and IEC designation of the United States as the secretariat for particular international technical committees.
The United States is a participant or observer in 95 percent of ISO, and nearly all IEC, technical committees and subcommittees.70 The United States