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National or International Standards?

Historically, standards throughout the world were national in scope, often set by government-funded national standards bodies. Each country's market was considered distinct; standards were developed to serve a country's particular needs and to benefit the domestic supplier. Today the importance of developing international standards is more apparent as many industries are becoming global.

A decade ago, 80% of all standardization activities of the European standards bodies focused on national work, with the remainder related to European and international development efforts. Today, this ratio is reversed: 80% of standards work is international.

In the United States, due to increased access to world markets and global competition, there is an increased emphasis on developing global standards and less momentum for developing U.S. standards. When products and services are standardized and accepted globally, we benefit from lower prices as result of significant efficiencies in product development, manufacturing, distribution and sales processes.

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Field trips for this lesson:

  • Check out NSSN, an on-line service that provides access to information on more than a quarter million national, foreign, regional and international standards, as well as many U.S. government specs and standards.

2011 Schedule of Open Sessions