ASME Responds to Consultation on UK's Better Regulation Framework
On September 30, 2021, ASME submitted a letter in response to a public consultation launched by the United Kingdom (UK) government on its Better Regulation Framework. According to the UK government, "Our exit from the EU provides us with the opportunity to think boldly about how we regulate and for the first time in a generation, we have the freedom to conceive and implement rules that put the UK first. We will use this freedom to unlock cutting-edge technologies, unleash innovation, and propel start-up growth, levelling up every corner of the UK. This will be a crucial part of boosting our productivity and helping us bring the benefits of growth to the whole of our country." The consultation followed a report published by the UK government’s Taskforce on Innovation, Growth, and Regulatory Reform.
From a standardization perspective, the European Union (EU) regulatory system (namely Regulation 1025/2012 on European Standardization) formally recognizes the International Standardization Organization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as the only international standards-developing organizations (SDOs). In an effort to achieve its regulatory and policy objectives, ASME strongly believes that the UK government should recognize that many SDOs, such as ASME, ASTM International, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), apply the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) principles (e.g. transparency, openness, impartiality, and consensus) to their standards-setting process and that such standards should be designated as international standards.
Now that the UK is no longer a member of the EU, ASME believes the UK government has a unique opportunity to adopt a multi-path approach to standards in its regulatory framework that would support UK innovation and competitiveness in the global marketplace. Recognizing and accepting multiple approaches to standards development will afford the flexibility needed to maintain a high level of safety, quality, and efficiency, and ensure that standards and conformity assessment programs are most responsive to the changing needs of UK industry and regulators. This approach will also ensure that the UK government adequately takes into account the interests of its international trading partners, promotes technical alignment, and facilitates global trade.
The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is in charge of the consultation and is currently in the process of reviewing all of the submissions. For a copy of the letter, which will be made public, please reach out to Louis Fredricks (FredricksL@asme.org), ASME European Affairs Advisor.
The consultation from BEIS can be viewed here.