Jim Seay testifies to congress on small business and global regulations

By | March 5, 2012

With the rise of global competition and innovation, regulatory standards on safety and quality assurance play an increasingly significant role in international trade. On Wednesday, February 29th, Premier Rides President and ASTM Committee F24 Chairman Jim Seay testified before the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation. The hearing, entitled Promoting Innovation, Competition, and Economic Growth: Principles for Effective Domestic and International Standards Development was held to assess the effectiveness of the U.S. standards system by:

• examining the principles of an effective standards development process
• analyzing how the Federal Government and industries promote those principles internationally, and
• understanding how standards can be employed as technical barriers to trade

Seay served on the panel of witnesses, focusing primarily on how small and midsized businesses can contribute to the domestic and global development of standards, benefit from the use of global standards, and how government, businesses, and organizations can minimize vulnerabilities to the use of standards as technical barriers of trade.

In his testimony, Seay emphasized the benefits of public and private collaboration in the development of voluntary consensus standards. As the owner of an innovative small business, he discussed the ability of international standards body ASTM to provide an open and transparent forum “where the voice and expertise of all stakeholders — including those from small businesses and consumer groups — contribute directly to the development of international standards that are grounded in technical quality and market relevance.”

As the congressional discussion turned to the standards policies of the United States and its global trade partners, Seay recommended that countries and regions strive to embrace the international standards criteria established by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and to recognize the flexibility to chose from a broad portfolio of international standards that includes those of ASTM International. “For the amusement industry and others, ASTM standards are utilized around the world in support of regulatory and business objectives because they meet WTO criteria, have multinational involvement in their development, and they have global reach in their application. Barriers to their acceptance often result in expensive and time consuming efforts to develop duplicative and potentially conflicting standards,” concluded Seay.

More information concerning the hearing is available at the webpage of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology at: http://science.house.gov/hearing/subcommittee-technology-and-innovation-hearing-promoting-innovation-competition-economic.