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International Standards, and their use in technical regulations on products, production methods and services play an important role in sustainable development and trade facilitation through the promotion of safety, quality and technical compatibility. 
The benefits that are derived are significant. Standardization contributes to the basic infrastructure that underpins society including health and environment while promoting sustainability and good regulatory practice.

The international organizations that produce International Standards are the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). IEC covers electrotechnology and related conformity assessment, ITU covers telecommunications and ISO covers nearly all other technical fields, a number of service sectors, management systems and conformity assessment.

International Standards, or national or regional adoptions of International Standards, assist in the operation of domestic markets, and also increase competitiveness and provide an excellent source of technology transfer. They play an integral role in the protection of consumers and the environment.

With the increasing globalization of markets, International Standards (as opposed to regional or national standards) have become critical to the trading process, ensuring a level playing field for exports, and ensuring imports meet internationally recognized levels of performance and safety.

Standards can be broadly sub-divided into three categories, namely product, process and management system standards. The first refers to characteristics related to quality and safety for example. Process standards refer to the conditions under which products and services are to be produced, packaged or refined. Management system standards assist organizations to manage their operations. They are often used to help create a framework that then allows the organization to consistently achieve the requirements that are set out in product and process standards.

For further information on ISO and its standardization activities, please consult the relevant pages on the ISO website. For the IEC, please consult this link.


Joint ISO/IEC International Standards and guides for conformity assessment encourage best practice and consistency when products, services, systems, processes and materials need to be evaluated against standards, regulations or other specifications.

ISO/IEC 17000 describes conformity assessment as the ’demonstration that specific requirements relating to a product, process, system, person or body are fulfilled.’ Conformity assessment procedures, such as testing, inspection and certification, offer assurance that products fulfil the requirements specified in regulations and standards.

For further information on ISO and Conformity Assessment, please consult the relevant pages on the ISO website. For the IEC, please consult this link.