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U.S. Department of Commerce Standards Experts

To assist U.S. companies in overcoming standards-related barriers in foreign markets, NIST cooperates with the Department of Commerce's U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service to place standards experts in U.S. Embassies in key markets - in Brussels, Belgium (to interface with the European Commission), Mexico and Brazil - and to support these experts once in place. NIST separately contracts with non-government experts located in Saudi Arabia and India. All standards experts work with U.S. business, other U.S. government agencies, and foreign counterpart organizations to identify and remove technical barriers to trade. Standards-related information and on-the-ground assistance in key markets is critical to U.S. exports and competitiveness.

NIST recommends qualified experts for consideration by the Commercial Service, provides training for both government and non-government experts prior to their placement, and assigns a technical liaison at NIST for each standards expert in the field to serve as primary contact for technical data and pertinent standards-related information. NIST participation in this program is important to the acceptance of the standards experts by foreign government (and private sector) technical counterparts.

NIST and the Commercial Service recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement covering both formal and working relationships associated with the assignment of standards experts to selected U.S. Embassies. The Memorandum of Agreement outlines the respective responsibilities of NIST and the Commercial Service, and also details the scope of activity associated with the standards expert positions.

Under the Agreement, standards experts are tasked to work with U.S. business, other U.S. government agencies, and foreign organizations to identify and remove technical barriers to trade in the specific country and region where assigned by:

  • providing technical support on a regional basis on standards-related issues that might affect U.S. Government agencies and U.S. companies;
  • providing technical assistance on standards-related issues to foreign government and private-sector bodies that establish policies, technical regulations or voluntary standards and conformity assessment practices that might affect market access for U.S. exports;
  • arranging and participating in technical assistance projects and workshops targeted at participants from the region of assignment, either at NIST or abroad; and
  • interacting with and participating in regional or national standards and conformity assessment organizations to promote U.S. objectives.

For more information, contact:

Elisabeth Gomez
National Institute of Standards and Technology
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 2100
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-2100
Tel: 301-975-3089, Fax: 301-975-4715
E-mail address:  elisabeth.gomez@nist.gov

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For technical questions concerning the Global Standards and Information Group, contact us:

Global Standards and Information Group, Standards Services Division, NIST, 100 Bureau Drive, MS 2100, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-2100
Phone: (301) 975-6094, Fax: (301) 975-4715, Email: gsig@nist.gov

Date created: January 11, 1999
Last updated: August 18, 2004

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