UNSC/IEC TAGs - Annex B: Criteria for the Development and Coordination of U.S. Positions
NOTE: The version included here was in effect at the time of publication of this document. For the latest version, please see Annex B of the ANSI Procedures for U.S. Participation in the International Standards Activities of ISO, available at: www.ansi.org/internationalprocedures
Participation in international standards activities of interest to members of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) requires membership in two international non-treaty standardization organizations, namely the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). ANSI is the U.S. member body of ISO and the U.S. National Committee of the IEC (USNC), a committee of ANSI, is the U.S. member of the IEC. To assure that positions presented to these international bodies are representative of U.S. interests, a mechanism must exist for the development and coordination of such positions. This document outlines ANSI’s criteria for an appropriate mechanism.
ANSI normally looks to the body that develops national standards in a particular standards area in order to determine the U.S. position in a similar international standardization activity. Such national consensus bodies are designated by ANSI as “U.S. TAGs” for specific ISO or IEC activities. Each accredited U.S. TAG to ISO shall be referred to as an “ANSI-Accredited U.S. TAG” (or alternately, “ANSI/[SDO] TAG to ISO/TC XX” or the equivalent) in all communications with TAG members and other parties regarding TAG activities. Where no national standards group exists, or is available to serve, or where several separate national standards groups exist, special bodies may be established for this purpose. The makeup of U.S. TAGs may include participants from companies, technical and trade organizations, government agencies, and individuals.
In addition to U.S. TAG activities, as appropriate and consistent with ANSI’s mission to promote U.S. based technology globally, ANSI may approve the establishment of Partnership Standards Developing Organization (PSDO) agreements with ISO. To coordinate both activities with the American National Standards process, ANSI also requires early notification by an ANSI-Accredited Standards Developer of its intent to submit a proposed American National Standard (ANS) for consideration for approval as an ISO or ISO/IEC JTC-1 standard. (See ANSI Essential Requirements: Due process requirements for American National Standards7) In such instances, it is expected that ANSI-Accredited U.S. TAGs will raise any concerns related to the proposed ANS during its development cycle so that if the standard is subsequently balloted for approval at the ISO or ISO/IEC JTC-1 level, the U.S. position will be to support its approval. For existing ANS, the PSDO is required to seek and obtain the approval of the applicable ANSI-Accredited U.S. TAG prior to its submission of a standard to ISO under a PSDO agreement.
These requirements apply to the development and coordination of U.S. positions for ISO and IEC activities.
B2: International Requirements8
Operating procedures for the development of U.S. positions shall comply with the requirements imposed on members by the relevant international standards body. For example, time limits are imposed on all participating international members of the international body with regard to voting, commenting, and other related matters. Reasonable time extensions may be requested for good cause.
The operating procedures of existing or newly established groups that develop U.S. positions for the standardization activities of ISO shall, at a minimum, meet the criteria for the organization, accreditation, and operation of U.S. TAGs as provided herein. The operating procedures of existing or newly established groups that develop U.S. positions for the standardization activities of IEC shall, at aminimum, meet the criteria for the organization and operation of U.S. TAGs as provided for in the Rules of Procedure of the U.S. National Committee of the IEC.
B4: Criteria for Organization
The following minimum criteria shall be met in the organization of U.S. TAGs, which develop U.S. positions on international standards activities:
B4.1 Openness. Participation shall be open to all U.S. national interested parties who are directly and materially affected by the activity in question. There shall be no undue financial barriers to participation. Participation shall not be conditional upon membership in any organization, or unreasonably restricted on the basis of technical qualifications or other such requirements. Timely and adequate notice of the formation of new activities related to international standards shall be provided to all known directly and materially affected interests. Notice should include a clear and meaningful description of the purpose of the proposed activity and shall identify a readily available source for further information.9
B4.2 Balance. The process of developing U.S. positions shall provide an opportunity for fair and equitable participation without dominance by any single interest. Dominance means a position or exercise of dominant authority, leadership, or influence by reason of superior leverage, strength, or representation. The requirement implicit in the phrase “without dominance by any single interest” normally will be satisfied if a reasonable balance among interests can be achieved. Unless it is claimed by a directly and materially affected person (organization, company, government agency, individual, etc.) that a single interest category dominated the development of the U.S. position, no test for dominance is required.
In defining the interest categories appropriate to U.S. TAG membership, consideration shall be given to at least the following:
- General interest
Where appropriate, more detailed subdivisions should be considered.10
B5: Criteria for Operation
The following minimum criteria shall be met in the development of U.S. positions in international standards activities11:
B5.1 Written Procedures. Written procedures shall govern the methods used for the development of U.S. positions and shall be available to any interested party.
B5.2 Listing in Standards Action. Appropriate12 international standards activities shall be listed in Standards Action in order to provide an opportunity for public comment. The comment period shall be appropriate to the required timing for the action.
B5.3 Consideration of Views and Objections. Prompt consideration shall be given to the written views and objections of all participants including those commenting on the listing in Standards Action. A concerted effort to resolve all expressed objections shall be made, and each objector shall be advised of the disposition of the objection and the reasons therefor.
Unresolved objections and any substantive change made to a proposed U.S. position shall be reported to the participants.
B5.4 Records. Records shall be prepared and maintained to provide evidence of compliance with these criteria. Records concerning new, revised, or reaffirmed ISO Standards shall be retained for one complete standards cycle, or until the standard is revised. Records concerning withdrawn standards shall be retained for at least five years from the date of withdrawal.
B5.5 Appeals. The written procedures shall contain an identifiable, realistic, and readily available appeals mechanism for the impartial handling of substantive and procedural complaints regarding any action or inaction.
B6: Guidelines for Determining a U.S. Voting Position
The development of a U.S. position with regard to voting on international documents is a matter of great complexity. Firm rules for casting affirmative votes, negative votes, or abstentions would be presumptuous and unworkable in many cases. However, efforts should be made to achieve consistency in the perceived conduct of the United States as a participant in international, non-treaty standards development. Toward that end, guidelines for determining a voting position are included herein in order to provide direction toward a consistent voting policy. These guidelines cannot cover all of the factors that must be considered in determining the U.S. vote. They do, however, represent generally accepted principles that should be applied to normal situations.
B6.1 If there is an existing U.S. national standard (i.e., an American National Standard13 or, in the absence of an American National Standard, another standard generally accepted within the United States) and:
1. If the national standard can be considered equivalent14 to the requirements in the international document, vote affirmative.
2. If the international document includes different, additional, or more stringent requirements than are in the national standard and the U.S. consensus indicates that such requirements are:
a. acceptable, and should be considered for inclusion in the national standard (See Section B7.2), vote affirmative, or
b. not acceptable, vote negative.
3. If the national standard includes different, additional, or more stringent requirements than are in the international document and the U.S. consensus indicates that such requirements:
a. should be modified in accordance with the international document (See Section 7.2), vote affirmative, or
b. must be maintained, vote negative, or
c. must be maintained, but the proposed document is considered to represent the best agreement which can be attained at the present time from an international point of view, vote abstain with a statement that the U.S. cannot modify its national standard for stated reasons.
B6.2 If no national standard exists and:
1. If U.S. consensus establishes that the international document is:
a. technically acceptable and could be used as the basis for the development of a national standard, vote affirmative, or
b. not technically acceptable, vote negative.
2. If the international document is of little or no interest to the U.S., abstain.
3. If the international document unnecessarily creates a barrier to domestic or international trade or impedes innovation or technical progress, vote negative.
B6.3 Regardless of whether or not a national standard exists, if no U.S. consensus has been established, abstain.
B6.4 The U.S. vote, if negative, must be accompanied by reasons and supporting information such as technical data and logical argument. Also, any known exceptions and/or additions that will be required to conform to U.S. safety practices or regulations shall be noted.
B6.5 Exceptions. Exceptions to the above stated voting guidelines should be carefully considered.
B7: Criteria for Approval of U.S. Positions on International Standards Activities
B7.1 Introduction. Implicit in the transmittal of U.S. positions on international standards activities to ANSI is the verification that the requirements of this document have been met and that consensus in support of the U.S. position has been established. Consistent with ANSI’s mission to promote U.S.-based technology globally, ANSI may approve a PSDO agreement. In all such instances, an ANSI-accredited Standards Developer is required to provide public notice of its intent to submit a proposed American National Standard (ANS) for consideration for approval as an ISO or ISO/IEC JTC-1 standard. (See ANSI Essential Requirements: Due process requirements for American National Standards) Further, in such instances, it is expected that ANSI Accredited U.S. TAGs will raise any concerns related to the proposed ANS during its development cycle so that if the standard is subsequently balloted for approval at ISO, the U.S. position will be to support its approval. For existing ANS, the PSDO is required to seek and obtain the approval of the applicable ANSI-Accredited U.S. TAG prior to its submission of a standard to ISO under a PSDO agreement.
B7.2 Consensus. Consensus for a U.S. position is established when substantial agreement has been reached by the U.S. national interests that are directly and materially affected by the proposed international standard. Additionally, if the proposed U.S. position is based on giving consideration to changes in an existing U.S. national standard, the consensus process shall include U.S. national interests that are directly and materially affected by the U.S. national standard.
B7.3 U.S. Proposals of Documents as the Basis for the Initiation of International Standards. All U.S. proposals for the initiation of new work items for the development of international standards shall be approved by the appropriate U.S. TAG. Such proposals shall be based on appropriate American National Standards, when they exist. In the absence of American National Standards, other appropriate, generally accepted standards may be proposed. In this instance, permission from the sponsor to propose documents as the basis for the initiation of international standards shall be obtained. In the absence of either ANSI standards or other appropriate, generally accepted standards, proposals may be based on a rationale, or a standard under development.
B7.4 U.S. Proposals to Fast Track a National Standard. The U.S. may submit a nationally accepted standard using the fast-track procedure approved by the ISO and IEC if the following criteria are met:
1) The U.S. is a P-member of a concerned technical committee.
2) The proposed standard must have the approval of both the originating organization and appropriate U.S. TAG.
The procedures in
B7.3 shall be used in determining U.S. support for the proposed standard.
B8: Criteria for Appeals
The provision of appeals is important for the protection of directly and materially affected interests and for the organizations involved in the development of U.S. positions in international activities and is required as a part of due process. This section provides for the right to appeal, indicates what may be appealed, and gives general criteria regarding the appeals mechanism.
B8.1 Right to Appeal. Directly and materially affected U.S. national interested parties have the right to appeal any substantive procedural action or inaction in the development of U.S. positions on international standards activities.
B8.2 Appeals Mechanism. The following general criteria shall apply to any appeals mechanism provided by the U.S. TAG pursuant to these procedures:
1) Appeals shall be addressed promptly and a decision made expeditiously.
2) The right of the involved parties to present their cases shall not be denied.
3) Appeals procedures shall provide for participation by all parties concerned without imposing an undue burden on them.
4) Consideration of appeals shall be fair and unbiased and shall fully address the concerns expressed.
5) Records of appeals shall be kept and made available to the involved parties.
B8.3 Access. Appeals shall be directed in accordance with the written procedures used for the development of pertinent U.S. positions. (See B5) The ANSI Appeals Board will not normally hear an appeal of an action or inaction until all other appeal procedures have been exhausted.
8See the IEC/ISO Directives, Part 1: procedures for the technical work; Part 2: Methodology for the development of International Standards; part 3: Drafting and presentation of International Standards
9See also related notification requirements in 2.5 of the ANSI Essential Requirements with respect to candidate standards that may be submitted for approval as an ISO or ISO/IEC JTC-1 standard.
10Further subdivisions that may be used to categorize directly and materially affected persons consist of, but are not limited to, the following: Consumer; Directly affected public; Distributor and retailer; Industrial/Commercial; Insurance; Labor; Manufacturer; Professional society; Regulatory agency; Testing Laboratory; Trade association
11See Footnote 3.
12Examples of appropriate activities are in the ANSI Procedures for U.S. Participation in the International Standards Activities of the ISO
13See Footnote 3.
14The word “equivalent” is intended to convey the thought that any product or procedure that meets the requirements of the national standard will also meet the requirements of the international standard and vice versa when tested for conformance by accepted means.