China, Russia take divergent paths on standards

Creating standards that are up to date is never an easy task. It becomes increasingly difficult when the standards committee members come from not from other areas of a given country but from around the globe.
Standards development moves at vastly different rates in various regions, and agreement on international documents often lags efforts done by regional groups that are smaller and more focused. Two neighboring countries, China and Russia, underscore the discrepancies that occur emerge as IPC standards take root.
Chinese participants are working with IPC on a number of programs, even taking the lead on one of them. “They originated the committee that will characterize the capabilities of reflow ovens,” said David Bergman, IPC vice president for international relations. “The documents will be translated into English, and comments will go to the Chinese. This is the first time we’ve had a group develop a local standard outside of the United States.”
While China is beginning to move away from proprietary national standards, Russia is advancing at a slower pace. GOST standards were mandated by the Soviet Union, and they remain popular in Russia and many of the countries that spun out from the USSR.
The standards, now handled by the Euro-Asian Council for Standardization, hold attraction even though many have not been maintained. “They can be 20 years old, but people there still feel they have to use GOST,” Bergman said. “However, IPC has had staff in China since 2002. Our Russian representative just started a few months ago. Ask me in seven years about Russian standards acceptance.”
Bergman says that local participation and local language is key to IPC standards acceptance worldwide. “It’s difficult but very important. Right now, we publish more than 37 standards in at least one language other than English. Some standards are available in 15 different languages.”

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