The national standards body of Russia signed an historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ASTM International on April 4. The agreement was signed by Grigory Elkin, head of the Russian Federal Agency on Technical Regulating and Metrology (GOST R), and James Thomas, president, ASTM International, during a meeting at the Russian Federal Agency’s headquarters in Moscow.

The goals of the MOU are to ‘remove technical barriers in economic and trade relations, create greater efficiency in the development of standards, deliver greater quality products, provide environmental and labour safety, and recognize the mutual benefits to be derived from cooperation in the field of standardization.’

Following the signing, Thomas stated, ‘With Russia’s aim to join the World Trade Organization in 2008, the MOU is a timely initiative that will foster much greater cooperation between Russia and ASTM International in the development of international standards.’ ASTM International is one of the largest developers of international standards in the world, utilizing a process that embraces the principles of the World Trade Organization’s Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement.

Via the agreement, the Russian Federation joins 47 other countries that have signed MOUs with the body. The MOU provides the Russian Federation access to the full collection of ASTM’s 12,000 standards. ASTM standards are an important source of technological know-how to advance manufacturing productivity and product quality that will bolster Russia’s capacity to export and compete in global markets.

The MOU also allows technical experts from Russian industry and scientific enterprises to influence the technical content of ASTM International standards that are important to the nation’s economy through direct participation in the ASTM standards development process.

Established in 1898, ASTM International is one of the largest international standards development and delivery systems in the world. ASTM standards are widely used around the globe to safeguard public health and safety and improve the environment. ASTM standards are accepted and used as international standards in 75 countries worldwide.