held 13.7 percent of ISO and IEC technical committee and subcommittee secretariats in 1992, an increase from 10.9 percent in 1988.71 These committees and subcommittees are concentrated in especially active areas of standards activity, producing in 1991 more than 38 percent of all ISO and IEC standards and 31 percent (measured in pages of text) of Draft International Standards. (The latter represents a significant increase over a 6.8 percent share in 1988.72)

In addition, the United States has had significant success in obtaining secretariats of ISO and IEC technical committees and subcommittees in industry sectors with high volumes of exports. For example, the United States holds the secretariats of ISO/IEC JTC1 for Information Technology; ISO Technical Committee (TC) 20, covering aircraft and space vehicles; ISO TC 61, plastics; and ISO TC 67, petroleum industry materials and equipment, among others. All of these committees set international standards in industry sectors that are among the top 10 U.S. export industry sectors.73

Cooperation between the U.S. public and private sectors—which is discussed in depth in the next section of this chapter—was instrumental in gaining a strong U.S. role in the recent establishment of an ISO technical committee on sterilization of health care products, an area of interest to U.S. exporters in the medical devices industry. Coordination among the AAMI, the FDA, and the Health Industry Manufacturers Association (HIMA) was instrumental in ANSI's developing a successful proposal and gaining ISO approval for a new committee, ISO TC 198. The international secretariat was assigned to the United States, where it is sponsored and staffed by the AAMI. A key goal of AAMI in pursuing this outcome, according to its staff, was to be able to cooperate with European standards developers to ensure harmonization of U.S., European, and international regulations.74

The scope of international standardization is broader than ISO and IEC alone. U.S. participation in ITU is significant to international standards development in the telecommunications equipment and services industries. In addition, standards produced by some U.S. standards developers take on the authority of international standards without going through a process of consensus building at ISO and IEC. For example, ASTM standards are used throughout the world, and 33 percent of ASTM's sales of publications are outside the United States.75 About 20 percent of ASME's sales of codes and standards are non-U.S. sales.76

The significance of both international standards and conformity assessment is growing in conjunction with the increasing importance of international trade to U.S. economic performance. Expansion and strengthening of international trading system rules concerning standards and conformity assessment provide additional incentives to U.S. industry, government, technical, and other participants in the standards system to focus increased attention on international activities. These and related factors are examined in detail in Chapter 4.

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