The U.S. Commerce Dept. has awarded U.S. standards organizations $399,500 to establish an office in Beijing for China Standard and Conformity Assessment. The CSCA office is an initiative by a four-member consortium — The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, The American Petroleum Institute, ASTM International, and CSA America — that hopes to identify and remove no-tariff barriers to trade.

Consortium members have a large knowledge base and resources for standards and conformity assessment in an array of industries. Through its CSCA office in Beijing, the consortium will form relationships with peer agencies in China, monitor standards development, and promote acceptance of members' standards and conformity assessment systems. Once established and staffed, the Beijing CSCA office will prepare Chinese marketing materials and a Web site, obtain market and standards information of strategic importance, network with government agencies and standards officials, and offer training.