APEC forum on an MRA would provide significant new opportunities for U.S. trade expansion in rapidly growing markets of Asia.

  • RECOMMENDATION 5: The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) should continue ongoing mutual recognition agreement negotiations with the European Union. The USTR should also expand efforts to negotiate MRAs with other U.S. trading partners in markets and product sectors that represent significant U.S. export opportunities. Priority should be given to conclusion of MRAs on conformity assessment through the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

As noted above, negotiations between the United States and the EU toward mutual recognition of conformity assessment mechanisms merit the continued high-level support of government, specifically the Office of the USTR. It is possible, however, that negotiations with Europe may not reach a timely or successful conclusion. Under these circumstances, failure by the Europeans to remove trade barriers in conformity assessment within a reasonable time period should lead to unilateral action by the United States, as authorized under our trade laws. Moreover, the USTR should use the full potential of targeted action on a unilateral basis under our laws, as appropriate, to remove barriers in other markets.

  • RECOMMENDATION 6: The USTR should use its authority under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to self-initiate retaliatory actions against foreign trade practices involving discriminatory or unreasonable standards and conformity assessment criteria. In particular, if U.S.–EU negotiations do not succeed within two years in securing fair access for U.S. exporters to European conformity assessment mechanisms, the USTR should initiate retaliatory actions under Section 301.

Innovative export promotion programs, in combination with a systematic policy to lower trade barriers, have the potential for significant, long-term economic benefit. By providing technical assistance to countries in emerging markets as they construct modern standards and conformity assessment systems, the United States has a unique and valuable opportunity to facilitate future world trade.


    RECOMMENDATION 7: NIST should develop and fund a program to provide standards assistance in key emerging markets. The program should have four functions:

  • (a)  

    provide technical assistance, including training of host-country standards officials, in building institutional mechanisms to comply with the

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