Pierre de Ruvo was invited by the US Department of Commerce and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) SCSC (Subcommittee on Standards and Conformance) to participate in the 6th Conference on GRP (Good Regulatory Practice) on 1-2 March 2011.
The two-day event gathered government and private sector officials from the 21 APEC member countries and representatives of international organizations. The discussions emphasized the need to develop practical guidance on how to choose and design efficient and effective mechanisms to strengthen the implementation of the WTO (World Trade Organization) TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) Agreement. The conference also served to reinforce the technical understanding and implementation of good regulatory practices in APEC economies by engaging regulators and stakeholders in discussions on how to best promote transparency and cooperation in rulemaking.
High-level roundtable on standards development
On 1 March, de Ruvo participated in the Roundtable Discussion with Leaders in Standards Development: Challenges in Engaging Regulators and other Stakeholders in Standards Development and Use, moderated by Mary Saunders, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services in the US Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration. Representatives of ASTM International, IEEE and ISO (International Organization for Standardization) representatives completed the panel.
The roundtable focused on how to promote standardization activities and attract regulator participation in standards development and, more generally, how to achieve greater participation from APEC member countries. Discussions also raised the questions of how international or regional SDOs (Standards Development Organizations) promote the use of standards in regulations, how they inform regulators about new and revised standards and how they facilitate and increase awareness of standards and their use in regulations.
IEC International Standards fit the bill
IEC International Standards provide the technical frameworks, metrics and specifications regulators can refer to in their legislation. As technologies evolve, standards are revised accordingly and legislation is automatically updated. Standards also provide governments with technical references in public tenders, lending confidence that products meet commonly agreed requirements, rules and specifications.
This was a good opportunity for de Ruvo to explain the IEC consensus-based standards development process, the 100 % electronic environment available for all IEC technical experts, and the national adoption of IEC International Standards by all IEC members and many of the countries participating in the IEC Affiliate Country Programme.
IECEE Certification mandatory for Australian PV modules
On 2 March, de Ruvo made a presentation in a session entitled Conformity Assessment Practices to Support Better Regulatory Outcomes. The first part of his presentation introduced the IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, its activities and how the CB (Certification Body) Scheme and the FCS (Full Certification Scheme) work. He went on to explain how products built to IEC International Standards and tested and certified by IECEE get faster market access in many countries; how IECEE Schemes greatly simplify the global certification process by reducing the number of steps required to obtain certification at the national level; how this in turn reduces trade barriers caused by different national certification criteria, because the IECEE System provides a standardized approach to testing and certification.
Because IECEE members mutually accept certificates issued by another member of the System, it is possible to say that one test, one factory inspection and one certification open the doors to all member countries.
In the second part, de Ruvo presented a case study on Australia where PV (photovoltaic) modules sold and installed in the country must be tested and certified to the relevant IEC International Standards by a laboratory accepted by IECEE. The first CEC (Clean Energy Council) of Australia regulation was enforced in June 2009, complemented in March 2011 by an even stricter clause stating that certificates will be accepted only where periodic factory inspections are carried out by the CB (Certification Body) to ensure ongoing compliance with International Standards. Similarly, imported PV modules must be approved for use in Australia.
CBs and test laboratories must be on the IECEE list posted on the CEC website.