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The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has served in its capacity as administrator and coordinator of the United States private sector voluntary standardization system for more than 80 years. Founded in 1918 by five engineering societies and three government agencies, the Institute remains a private, nonprofit membership organization supported by a diverse constituency of private and public sector organizations.

Throughout its history, the ANSI Federation has maintained as its primary goal the enhancement of global competitiveness of U.S. business and the American quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems and promoting their integrity. The Institute represents the interests of its nearly 1,000 company, organization, government agency, institutional and international members through its office in New York City, and its headquarters in Washington, D.C.

ANSI does not itself develop American National Standards (ANSs); rather it facilitates development by establishing consensus among qualified groups. The Institute ensures that its guiding principles - consensus, due process and openness - are followed by the more than 175 distinct entities currently accredited under one of the Federation’s three methods of accreditation (organization, committee or canvass). In 1999 alone, the number of American National Standards increased by nearly 5.5% to a new total of 14,650 approved ANS.

ANSI-accredited developers are committed to supporting the development of national and, in many cases international standards, addressing the critical trends of technological innovation, marketplace globalization and regulatory reform.

ANSI promotes the use of U.S. standards internationally, advocates U.S. policy and technical positions in international and regional standards organizations, and encourages the adoption of international standards as national standards where these meet the needs of the user community.
ANSI is the sole U.S. representative and dues-paying member of the two major non-treaty international standards organizations, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and, via the U.S. National Committee (USNC), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

ANSI was a founding member of the ISO and plays an active role in its governance. ANSI is one of five permanent members to the governing ISO Council, and one of four permanent members of ISO’s Technical Management Board. U.S. participation, through the U.S. National Committee, is equally strong in the IEC. The USNC is one of 12 members on the IEC’s governing Committee of Action and the current president of the IEC is from the United States.

Through ANSI, the United States has immediate access to the ISO and IEC standards development processes. ANSI participates in almost the entire technical program of both the ISO (78% of all ISO technical committees) and the IEC (91% of all IEC technical committees) and administers many key committees and subgroups (16% in the ISO; 17% in the IEC) . As part of its responsibilities as the U.S. member body to the ISO and the IEC, ANSI accredits U.S. Technical Advisory Groups (U.S. TAGs) or USNC Technical Advisors (TAs). The U.S. TAG’s (or TA’s) primary purpose is to develop and transmit, via ANSI, U.S. positions on activities and ballots of the international technical committee.

In many instances, U.S. standards are taken forward, through ANSI or its USNC, to the ISO or IEC where they are adopted in whole or in part as international standards. Since the work of international technical committees is carried out by volunteers from industry and government, not ANSI staff, the success of these efforts often is dependent upon the willingness of U.S. industry and the U.S. government to commit the resources required to ensure strong U.S. technical participation in the international standards process.

Courtesy of www.ansi.com

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