For the first time, ASTM International has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the national standards body of China, the Standardization Administration of the People's Republic of China (SAC). The event took place August 20 in Beijing.

Following the signing, ASTM President James Thomas stated, “ASTM standards have a century of history in the world's marketplace helping to ensure good quality products and accurate testing procedures. With China's trade topping $400 billion for both imports and exports in 2003, standards are of the utmost importance. The signing of this MOU with the SAC is a great step forward to encouraging greater access to ASTM standards in China as well as a bigger voice by Chinese experts in the content of ASTM standards.”

ASTM International and SAC agreed to explore cooperation opportunities for standards development in areas of mutual interest; promote communication and knowledge between the two organizations; and promote greater Chinese participation into the ASTM standards development process.

Part of the MOU agreement involves ASTM annually providing the full collection of ASTM standards to SAC; jointly sponsoring standards and training programs; providing participating membership to representatives of SAC on ASTM technical committees; and providing internship programs for SAC experts to come to ASTM International headquarters for extended study of the ASTM International standards development process.

In return, SAC will promote the acceptance and use of ASTM standards in China; utilize the resources of ASTM International to develop Chinese National Standards and reference ASTM standards where applicable in Chinese National Standards; and provide access to current ASTM standards including a link to ASTM International's Web site on the SAC home page. SAC will also facilitate connections between Chinese technical experts and ASTM International technical committees to ensure that the standards meet the needs of Chinese industry.

ASTM International has had a presence in China for many years. Its involvement includes agreements with other standards organizations including the Chinese National Institute of Standardization (CNIS) and the Shanghai Institute of Standardization (SIS). SAC currently reports that it uses nearly 500 ASTM standards as the basis for its national standards in China.