Ensuring standards are used globally: Experts from India and Germany discuss Global Relevance Toolbox

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International standards help to facilitate trade and enhance consumer protection.  However, developing standards which can be used as broadly as possible by all stakeholders in markets around the world can be tricky. Countries with extreme climate conditions for instance, cannot always use the same standards as countries with stable and predictable weather and temperature. The International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) Global Relevance Toolbox (GRT) offers solutions. It allows for the inclusion of essential differences in national requirements in the annex of international standards.


On 10 December 2020, German and Indian standardisation experts discussed key aspects of the GRT and possible ways of its application. The online exchange was jointly organised by the Global Project Quality Infrastructure (GPQI), the German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies of DIN and VDE (DKE) and the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).


Khushwant Singh from the GIZ team which supports the Global Project Quality Infrastructure (GPQI) highlighted the importance of having a common understanding of the GRT for its successful application. Gerhild Roth from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) emphasised the importance of the dialogue on standardisation within the Indo-German Working Group on Quality Infrastructure. She identified the application of the GRT as an important opportunity for the Indo-German cooperation.


Priti Bhatnagar from BIS explained that India is working actively towards harmonising Indian standards with international ones. Her colleague, Ritwik Anand, provided an overview of the harmonisation of Indian electrotechnical standards and outlined the factors which contribute to national deviations such as changes in ambient temperatures.


Philipp Saueracker from DKE presented their participation in the international standardisation and elaborated on the relevance of the GRT for international harmonisation.


The industry perspective on the application of the GRT was illustrated by Matthias Gommel from Siemens. The GRT increases the efficiency in standard development and improves a standard’s time to market, he explained. Through various examples of IEC standards, he demonstrated the use of the GRT.


During the subsequent discussion round, the experts debated possible strategies for implementing Indian requirements in new and existing international electrotechnical standards. One of the strategies could be to identify IEC standards coming up for review where the GRT would be applicable. They concluded that the GRT offers a great chance for standard setting for new technologies. Both sides agreed to continue their dialogue on cooperation in the area of application of the GRT.


Find out more about the Global Project Quality Infrastructure of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the activities of the Indo-German Working Group on Quality Infrastructure.


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