ISO assembly held in Beijing

By Wang Xiaodong ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-09-19 07:40:49

Internationalized standards boost cooperation, economic development

With a consensus reached during the 39th general assembly of the International Organization for Standardization, China is set to intensify cooperation with international communities so that standards play a bigger and better role in promoting economic development and trade.

"China will continue to increase exchanges with other countries and international organizations in terms of their development strategies, and enhance cooperation in standardization," Tian Shihong, head of the Standardization Administration of China, said during the meeting held in Beijing between Sept 12-14.

"We will promote the role of standardization in better serving economic, trade and social development," Tian said.

Delegates from all the 163 ISO members attended the 39th ISO General Assembly, which emphasized how international standards improve global connectivity. This is the second time that the general assembly of the world's biggest organization for standardization was held in China.

ISO assembly held in Beijing

"Standards are important tools and a means to promote global economic development, trade, technology, environmental performance and sustainable society," according to the Beijing Statement jointly released by SAC and ISO on Sept 14.

The ISO General Assembly will "strengthen cooperation in the field of standardization practices, exchange and share knowledge, experience, technology and resources", it said.

During the assembly, China signed agreements with nine countries involved in the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives, on standardization cooperation to increase connectivity and facilitate investment and trade between China and these countries.

China and the nine countries, which include Albania, Cambodia, Russia and Turkey, will recognize each other's standards in fields of common concern, to promote consistency of product standards and reduce trade barriers, according to the agreement.

The Belt and Road Initiative was proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013, to revive historic trade routes by boosting cooperation between China and other involved countries and regions.

SAC also signed agreements with the European Committee for Standardization, ahead of the assembly, to intensify cooperation between China and the European Union, in fields such as the mutual recognition of standards and exchanges of personnel and information.

China Post issued a stamp for the 39th ISO General Assembly a day before its opening, making it the first commemorative stamp in the history of ISO general assembly.

China has made remarkable progress in international standardization in recent years. It led in the formulation of 182 international standards over the past five years. The figure was 13 between 1947, when the ISO was founded, and 2000, said Zhang Xiaogang, president of ISO.

Despite this progress, China still lags far behind developed countries in international standardization. Around 95 percent of international standards are led by countries in the Western Hemisphere, Zhang said.

Only 0.7 percent of international standards were led by China, and these standards are mainly limited to industries in which China enjoys traditional advantages, such as fireworks, he said.

To reduce the gap, China needs intensified participation in the formulation of international standards, and the government needs to consider national plans for the internationalization of Chinese standards, he said.

According to a plan recently approved by the State Council, China's cabinet, more than 95 percent of the country's national standards required for major consumer products will be consistent with international standards by 2020.

The ratio is currently about 80 percent for major consumer products, such as home appliances, textiles and clothing, shoes, furniture, watches and clocks, and toys.

To internationalize its standards, China will boost cooperation with major trade partners to raise the quality of domestically-made consumer products and meet international standards, said Tian, SAC's chief.

"We will study and borrow experiences from other countries in the management of standards so as to improve our own," Tian said at a news conference in August.

Authorities encourage Chinese enterprises and experts to help in drafting and revising standards to attain consistency between those used in China and those used abroad, he said.

Chinese enterprises should play a better role in participating in international standardization cooperation, Zhang, ISO president, said.

Participation in international standardization can help enterprises to master international rules, familiarize themselves with the latest technological developments, increase their competitiveness and bring them economic benefits, he said.

Meng Yongye, deputy director of the Center for International Language Service and Management at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said with more Chinese enterprises investing overseas, more and more Chinese technologies will also go abroad. "Companies should internationalize their standards if they want to become world-class enterprises."

Figures and facts

Nearly 700 participants from 163 members of the International Organization for Standardization and 14 international organizations.

China's Standardization Administration and ISO jointly issued a Beijing Statement on Sept 14. The ISO General Assembly reiterated its commitment to enhancing regional and international cooperation on standardization, strengthening capacity-building of all ISO members and supporting technical innovation in order to foster ISO standards as an important means to improve global connectivity.

SAC signed an agreement with nine countries involved in the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives, on cooperation in standardization, on Sept 12. Through the agreement, China and countries including Albania, Cambodia, Russia and Turkey, will promote mutual recognition of their national standards to eliminate trade barriers.

A commemorative stamp featuring the theme that "standards promote global connectivity" was issued by China Post ahead of the assembly. It is the first commemorative stamp in the history of the ISO general assembly.

During the assembly, five foreign standardization experts from Canada, France, Germany, Britain and the United States were appointed advisers for China's standardization development by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

Wang Xiaodong

 ISO assembly held in Beijing

Zhi Shuping, chief of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, reads the congratulatory message from President Xi Jinping at the general assembly of the International Organization for Standardization in Beijing last week. Photos Provided To China Daily

 ISO assembly held in Beijing

Foreign participants listen to discussion from their peers at the ISO general assembly in Beijing last week.

 ISO assembly held in Beijing

A commemorative stamp is released to cerebrate the latest general assembly of the International Organization for Standardization.

 ISO assembly held in Beijing

Representatives of the Standardization Administration of China and other countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative celebrate their cooperation after they signed an agreement on standardization at the assembly.

(China Daily 09/19/2016 page24)

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