To help reach the goal of having compatible standards across both sides of the Atlantic, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on Wednesday 17 July agreed to expand their current scientific co-operation to 10 different areas. The JRC-NIST Implementing Arrangement is particularly relevant in the light of the currently negotiated Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
The TTIP aims to remove tariffs and unnecessary regulation and facilitate trade and investments on the other side of the Atlantic. Once in place, the free trade agreement will save millions of euros to companies and create hundreds of thousands of jobs. Differences in technical regulations, standards and certifications cost time and money: when a car is declared safe according EU regulations, if imported in the US, it still has to undergo a safety check. Indeed, the negotiations will address those barriers that lie behind the customs border – the unnecessary rules and regulations, resulting from different standards.
The JRC-NIST Implementing Arrangement encompasses 10 (non-exhaustive) areas related to standards and measurements. Environment and climate, energy, transport and security feature high on the collaborative research agenda. Healthcare and clinical measurements, food safety and nutrition, as well as nanotechnology will be subject of the development and harmonisation of methods, indicators and documentary standards. Besides reference materials in a range of areas, the co-operation will include research on civil engineering structures and emerging Information and communication technologies (ICT), as well as marine optical radiometry.
The Implementing Arrangement covers scientific cooperation related to standards and measurements and is concluded under the auspices of the Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the EU and US signed in 1997. Its purpose is to form an overarching arrangement, including and expanding on the previous co-operation. The planned activities include access to each other's scientific infrastructure, exchange of scientific and technological information, exchange of experts and support to the training of scientists, engineers and technical experts.