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Resources: Glossary




Third-party attestation related to a conformity assessment body conveying formal demonstration of its competence to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks. These tasks include sampling and testing, inspection, certification, and registration.

Ad hoc Standard:

See “De facto Standard”.

American National Standard (ANS):

Designation for a standards developing process ensuring that the standard was developed according to the ANSI Essential Requirements. ANS are not developed by ANSI but rather by ANSI accredited Standards Developing Organizations.

ANSI Essential Requirements (ANSI ER or AER):

Requirements for receipt of the ANS designation including due process, openness, balance, and consensus.

ANSI standard:

See “American National Standard”.


Issue of a statement, based on a decision following review, that fulfillment of specified requirements has been demonstrated.


Third-party attestation related to products, processes, systems, or persons that conveys assurance that specified requirements have been demonstrated.


See “Conformity Assessment”.


See “Conformity Assessment”.

Conformance Procedure:

See “Conformity Assessment Procedures”.

Conformity Assessment:

Demonstration that specified requirements relating to a product, process, system, person, or body are fulfilled. (This may include any activity concerned with determining directly or indirectly that relevant requirements are fulfilled).

Conformity Assessment Procedures:

Any procedure used, directly or indirectly, to determine that relevant requirements in technical regulations or standards are fulfilled (e.g., testing, inspection, certification, accreditation).

Consensus Standard:

See “Standard”.

De facto standard:

A de facto standard — or ad hoc standard — is based on common practices that are well-established. De facto standards for format, language, or protocol, have wide general acceptance although they are not formally recognized by a standards developer.

Common de facto standards include the arrangement of keys on a typewriter or keyboard (QWERTY keyboard) and the MS-DOS computer operating system.


First-party attestation.

First-party Conformity Assessment:

Conformity Assessment that is performed by the person or organization that provides the object of conformity assessment.

Global Standards:

Standards that are broadly accepted and used around the world independent of their source or standards development process.


Examination of a product design, product, process, or installation and determination of its conformity with specific requirements or, on the basis of professional judgment, with general requirements.

international standards (non-capitalized):

A broad category of standards developed in compliance with the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade Committee criteria for the development of international standards (Second Triennial Review of the Operation and Implementation of the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, Annex 4).

International Standards (capitalized):

A trademarked term referring to standards developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

Mandatory Standard:

See “Technical Regulation”.

Market Acceptance:

Includes the private sector standards and conformity assessment measures that retailers and consumers expect products to meet to be placed in a particular market. These measures sometimes differ from and exceed the applicable market access requirements.

Market Access:

Includes governmental technical regulations and the conformity assessment measures that the government requires to demonstrate compliance with these technical regulations.

National Committee (to the IEC):

One public or private sector organization that serves as a particular economy’s member body to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) which may or may not be a country’s national standards body or part of it.

National Standards Body (NSB):

One public or private sector organization that serves as a particular economy’s member body to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). In addition, some NSBs may also serve as a coordinator of domestic standards activities.

Non-treaty Organization (or non-governmental international organization):

An international organization in which countries can be represented by either a government or private sector organization (e.g. ISO, IEC).

“One Country, One Vote” Standards:

International Standards developed in a formal voting process where each country is represented through a “national body” carrying one vote each, regardless of the size of its economy, population, or the number of technical experts that participate from each country.

Private-sector Standard:

See “Standard”.

Second-party Conformity Assessment:

Conformity Assessment that is performed or required by a person or organization that has a user interest in the object (e.g. the procurer, purchaser or user).


A recognized unit of comparison by which the correctness of others can be determined. A standard may also be defined as a set of characteristics or qualities that describes features of a product, process, or service.

According to the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (WTO / TBT) Agreement, Annex 1, a standard is “a document, established by consensus, that provides rules, guidelines, or characteristics for activities or their results” or “a document that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for products or related process and production methods, with which compliance is not mandatory.”

Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs):

SDOs include professional societies, industry and trade associations and membership organizations that develop standards within their area of expertise. They may develop standards with their own members or in cooperation with other SDOs and interested parties. SDOs in the United States may choose to develop standards that are submitted to ANSI for approval as American National Standards (ANS). They may also develop standards outside the ANSI accreditation and approval process.

Suppliers’ Declaration of Conformity (SDoC):

Procedure by which a first party or supplier conveys assurance that the object of conformity fulfills specified requirements.


Systematic iteration of conformity assessment activities as a basis for maintaining the validity of the statement of conformity.

Technical Regulation:

According to the WTO / TBT Agreement, a technical regulation is “a document that provides technical requirements, either directly or by referring to or incorporating the content of a standard, technical specification, or code of practice” or “a document that lays down product characteristics or their related processes and production methods, including the applicable administrative provisions, with which compliance is mandatory.”


Determination of one or more characteristics of an object of conformity assessment, according to a specified technical procedure (test method). Action of carrying out one or more tests.

Third-party Conformity Assessment:

Conformity Assessment that is performed by a person or body that is independent of the person or organization that provides the object, and of user interests in that object.

Treaty Organization:

An international organization that is established as a result of the provisions of an international treaty being signed by signatory governments (e.g. ICAO, ITU, CODEX Alimentarius). Designated representatives of the national governments are signatories to the treaty.

Voluntary (Consensus) Standard:

See “Standard”.

Commonly Used Acronyms




American National Standard


American National Standards Institute


ASTM International


Conformity Assessment Bodies (testing laboratory, inspection body, certification body, etc.) accredited by an AB




Codex Alimentarius Commission


Pan-American Standards Commission


Consumer Product Safety Commission


U.S. Department of Defense


Environment, Health, and Safety


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


European Standardization Organization


Federal Communications Commission


International Electrotechnical Commission


Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers


International Organization for Standardization


International Telecommunication Union


Non-governmental Organization


National Committee


National Standards Body


Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards


Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development


Office of Management and Budget


National Institute of Standards and Technology


National Measurement Institute


National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act


Pacific Area Standards Congress


Standards, regulations, and conformance


Standards Developing Organizations


Supplier's Declaration of Conformity


Standards Incorporated by Reference


Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures


Standards Setting Organization


Technical Barriers to Trade


U.S. Department of Agriculture


World Wide Web Consortium


World Trade Organization

Other Resources

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