The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) is delighted to participate in the celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation (link is external). For each month in 2017, we will feature stories about standardization and SCC’s progressive leadership to deliver innovative standardization solutions and how they have helped to shape Canada’s history. Access the complete series of articles about Canada's Leadership in Standardization: Celebrating Canada 150.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect on January 1, 1994. Since its implementation, NAFTA has led to a significant increase in trade between Canada, the United States and Mexico. For agreements like NAFTA to reach their full potential in increasing trade, however, standards alignment is critical. Recognizing this, the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and our counterparts, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Dirección General de Normas (DGN), have been working towards the goals of NAFTA since its earliest days.
In fact, in 1991, the North American Trilateral Standardization Forum (NATSF) was launched. Led by SCC, ANSI and DGN, the NATSF allowed the national standards bodies—along with industry stakeholders—to share information and identify opportunities for aligning standards and conformity assessment processes among the three countries.
Alignment of standards just makes sense. SCC’s goal of “one standard, one test…accepted everywhere,” helps break down trade barriers and open up new and exciting opportunities for Canadian businesses. Supporting our businesses and driving our economy are priorities for SCC as well as for the government and part of the reason why negotiating key trade agreements like NAFTA is so important.
Today, the three signatories to NAFTA have embarked on a renegotiation to modernize the trade deal. Canada’s commitment to the agreement is steadfast, and a recent statement from Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland (link is external) highlighted the talks as an opportunity to "integrate progressive, free and fair approaches to trade and investment" into a renewed agreement. This negotiation is vital because, as Freeland continued, "NAFTA’s track record is one of economic growth and middle-class job creation."
SCC works with the national standards bodies in the United States and Mexico to support free trade in North America. A lot has changed since NAFTA took effect in 1994, and with ANSI and DGN, SCC continues to explore ways to facilitate mutual recognition and joint standardization development. These will help to reduce barriers to trade and increase opportunities for Canadian, American and Mexican businesses.
SCC’s input to the NAFTA discussions supports the Government of Canada’s international trade agenda. Recently, we have been working with the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA) to facilitate the implementation of the Conformity Assessment protocol under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which will help reduce trade barriers just as NAFTA has.
In the Asia-Pacific region, SCC is strengthening ties with Chinese standardization bodies in part to support the Government of Canada as it explores the possibility of a free trade agreement with China. Also, SCC recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards that reinforced the important trade relationship between Canada and South Korea following the January 2015 signing of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement.
SCC has worked to ensure that standardization is integrated into Canadian trade agreements. In doing so, we continue to support government priorities and provide value to Canadians.
The Canadian Standards Strategy, published in 2000, was one of the world’s first national standards strategies.
Each month in 2017, we will feature stories about standardization and SCC’s progressive leadership to deliver innovative standardization solutions and how they have helped to shape Canada’s history.