This piece was originally published in the October 2018 issue of electroindustry.
Ken Gettman, Director, International Standards, NEMA
When considering global product distribution, it is often beneficial to pursue compliance with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), unless a Standard developed in the United States has become the de facto world requirement.
The IEC, an international standards body, creates voluntary specifications that are adopted verbatim or with unique country deviations through most countries outside North America. Many IEC Standards are adopted as national requirements.
A number of existing IEC Standards are based on submittals from the U.S. that generally reflect requirements already in use in that market. The process requires a technical advisory group to forward the work to the general secretary of the U.S. National Committee of the IEC, which then makes the formal submittal. Another option is for a U.S. representative in one of the technical committees to directly propose the development of a new Standard or updating an existing one.
There are many variations on these two methods, but the U.S., just like the other 150 countries in the IEC, is able to develop, submit, and frequently gain acceptance for projects initiated by its constituents.