The World Trade Organization’s Deputy Director-General, Alan Wolff, underlines the importance of International Standards in a keynote address to a meeting of the World Standards Cooperation, in Geneva, Switzerland.
The World Trade Organization’s Deputy Director-General, Alan Wolff, says he was reminded about the impact that standards have on trade when he bought a car in Switzerland recently. Wolff told a summit meeting of the main worldwide standards bodies that his car might have to stay in Switzerland when he leaves, because taking it back to the United States was more difficult than he had anticipated.
Notwithstanding Wolff’s experience with his BMW, he emphasises that International Standards and Conformity Assessment are a force for good. He told a summit meeting of the World Standards Cooperation (WSC) that trade could only take place when producers and consumers in different markets were able to trust the quality and safety of each other’s products.
In an inspiring keynote speech, Wolff called on the standards bodies to take steps to support the growth of the world trading system. He claimed there was a need to improve coherence between international standards in order to achieve effective global governance.
He asked the standards bodies if they could do more to support the development of national quality infrastructure. Wolff also called on them to help SMEs to engage in trade.
“If SMEs and enterprises don’t have access to adequate conformity assessment, standardization and metrology infrastructure, particularly in developing and least developed countries, they cannot engage successfully in trade,” he said.
Finally, Wolff underlined the benefits of promoting the message that “an integrated global economy, with a strong and dynamic multilateral trading system, supported by international standards, is a better world for everyone”.
Wolff has been at the centre of global trade negotiations for four decades and has served under both Democrat and Republican presidents. He has lectured and written extensively on issues related to trade, including the need for a strong, open rules-based multilateral trading system.
You can read Alan Wolff’s speech to the WSC here.