WASHINGTON, D.C.-The U.S. voluntary standards system is spurring the development of emerging technologies such as Smart Grid, healthcare IT and cyber security, according to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

In an event hosted today by NAM and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, nearly 100 leaders from government and a wide range of industry and trade associations gathered to address the importance of the U.S. voluntary standards system and the crucial role it plays in America’s ability to be globally competitive.

“Standards can become either trade-facilitating measures that benefit companies, workers and consumers or, alternatively, they can become serious new trade barriers as countries use them to favor their own products over U.S. competitors,” said Shaun Donnelly, senior director, international business policy at the NAM.

The U.S. voluntary standards system is designed to help businesses and other stakeholders develop and promote product measurement, standards and technology in order to enhance productivity, facilitate trade and compete successfully in a global marketplace.

The event featured panel discussions with government, industry, academic and standards organizations. It marked the beginning of a NAM initiative to inform Congress, the Administration and the public of the role the voluntary standards system plays in promoting U.S. innovation and global competitiveness.

“Manufacturers are working with President Obama’s Administration and members of Congress to ensure that all the relevant government players understand the fundamental importance of maximizing our standards system to support U.S. global competitiveness,” Donnelly said.