Regulatory risk and uncertainty pose one of the greatest challenges to a company’s ability to succeed in the global economy.  Traditional costs associated with taxes on imports have been far surpassed by those resulting from non-tariff barriers (NTBs).  As they continue to proliferate around the globe, NTBs often take the form of unique and overly burdensome technical standards and regulations that must be met before a product makes it to the marketplace.  These barriers have an especially significant impact on the ICT industry, where the rapid evolution of technologies makes delays in getting products to market a critical concern.

Requirements such as unnecessary or redundant testing and certification can drive up costs for companies and consumers alike, limit choice, and often prevent the latest innovations from reaching those markets where NTBs are in place.  As a result, countries that establish NTBs, whether unintentionally or as protectionist policy, may limit their own access to the latest technological innovations and their hurt their ability to compete globally.

In order to promote international harmonization of technical requirements, ITI has worked closely with government groups and formal standards-setting bodies to develop internationally recognized standards in a variety of critical areas, such as product safety and electromagnetic interference issues.  Nearly all governments that regulate ICT have adopted these standards, resulting in a global alignment that has greatly facilitated trade. However, the growing proliferation of unique regulatory compliance requirements has begun to offset the benefits of these shared standards.  The problem is particularly acute in emerging markets, where governments are establishing new regulatory frameworks to guide and shelter nascent industries.

ITI is actively engaged in resolving potential non-tariff barriers in markets both in the United States and around the globe.  We work with United States government agencies including the Department of Commerce and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as well as with other U.S. trade and diplomatic officials to address these market access issues.

In addition, ITI has established networks of industry resources on the ground in Asia and in Latin America to work directly with foreign governments in addressing technical regulations and their associated conformance and testing requirements.  These networks help to provide an early warning system for potential NTBs and give us critical insight about how to address them as well as the in-country ability to do so.  These networks, together with the guidance of industry’s leading worldwide regulatory policy experts and technical experts, provide the necessary tools for ITI to achieve its global objectives.

Working with the international standards development community and with regulators directly, ITI helps its members to navigate the growing patchwork of rules and regulations that threaten to fragment global markets.  ITI advocates for technical standards and regulatory policies that allow governments to meet their regulatory objectives, while minimizing the impact on trade. ITI’s work on these issues helps to open innovation and competition among businesses and ensure that the benefits of ICT reach global consumers in the most efficient way.