Seventh - I wish to point out that usage of ASTM Standard F-138 by the APP violates the standards and
principles called for by ASTM International, the authors of ASTM
Choosing Standards Based on Merit
Copyright 2010, ASTM International.
This paper, published by ASTM International in 2010, is written to confirm the commitment
of ASTM International to the WTO TBT principles, "... the cornerstones
of a liberalized trading system ..." and describes the
importance of U.S. domiciled standards setting organizations arguing
that U.S. contributions are used extensively around the world,
formulated by experts from around the world, and that the acceptance of
universal standards must not take precedence over merit interpreted as
"the freedom to choose a standard based on performance, suitability,
The TBT Agreement delegates certain responsibilities to international
(1) they must function effectively and appropriately;
(2) they must fulfill legitimate objectives; and
(3) they must be relevant [based on]...regulatory and market needs ...
scientific and technological developments ...[and the] ability to solve
real problems in real time. (2010:4)
The more pertinent question(s) ...
(1) whether or not a standard facilitates or poses an obstacle to trade,
(2) whether or not a standard is effective and relevant to market needs
and conditions. (2010:5)
...the obligation of manufacturers and governments [is] to
choose the best standards available and the standards that are most
relevant to their needs. (2010:2)
U.S. interests strongly agree on the principles necessary for the
development of national or international standards to meet societal and
In successful standards processes
* A Principle required by ASTM:
* Decisions are reached through consensus among those affected.
Consensus has not been sought because F138 316LVM would be rejected by
practitioners and suppliers by a vast majority. Consensus has never been
attempted knowing full well that for the past 20 years piercing jewelry
uses non-F138 certified 316L. It would be disingenuous to think businesses
would prefer more expensive products primarily sourced from APP
* Participation is open to all affected interests. [Note
APP is portraying themselves as a standards-setting organization for
body piercing while in actuality they are an advocacy group with fewer
than 300 members worldwide. Their deliberations and meetings are closed
door with no interest in an open dialogue.
*Balance is maintained among competing interests.
In APP competing interests (those who do not agree) are excluded.
* The process is transparent, information on the process and progress is
The process behind APP standards are behind closed doors and secret.
* Due process assures that all views will be considered and that appeals
Meetings are behind closed doors, even members are excluded from some post
The following principles are not transparent.
* The process is flexible, allowing the use of different methodologies
to meet the needs of different technology and product sectors.
*The process is timely; purely administrative matters do not slow down
*Standards activities are coherent, avoiding overlap or conflict.
Successful standards processes yield the right results
* Standards are relevant, meeting agreed criteria and satisfying
real needs by providing added value.
There is no merit, no real need, no added value by specifying F138
316LVM while invalidating a perfectly safe existing product:
non-certified 316L. There is no "credible rationale" for this
specification and none is offered. The APP's attempt to circumvent
consensus is inappropriate and incompetent.
It can be argued that use is a benchmark of merit; that is, the
standard [316L] has earned the confidence of a wide range of users.
*Standards are responsive to the real world; they use available,
current technology and do not unnecessarily invalidate existing products
* Standards are performance-based, specifying essential characteristics
rather than detailed designs.
This is a further objection because the essential characteristics are
National Standards Strategy for the United States
Voluntary consensus standards for products, processes and services are
at the foundation of the U.S. economy and society. The United States has
a proud tradition of developing and using voluntary standards to support
the needs of our citizens and the competitiveness of U.S.
industry. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
the coordinator of the U.S. standards system, has brought together
public and private sector interests to make this happen....
II-Imperatives for Action
The standardization world has changed.
We can't assume that U.S. technology and practices will automatically be
adopted everywhere, nor can we assume that within the U.S. everyone will
be satisfied with business as usual.
* The European Union is aggressively and successfully promoting its
technology and practices to other nations around the world through its
own standards processes and through its national representation in the
international standards activities of the International Organization for
Standardization (ISO), the... International Electrical Commission (IEC)
and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
* Emerging economies with the potential for explosive growth are looking
to ISO and IEC for standards. In some sectors these standards do not
reflect U.S. needs or practices.
The exclusion of technology supporting U.S. needs from international
standards can be a significant detriment to U.S. competitiveness. The
U.S. will lose market share as competitors work hard to shape standards
to support their own technologies and methods.
Just as the EU has shaped legal requirements to compel the use of EU
produced titanium, APP is working in the same spirit to shape
legal standards to support the 316LVM fabricator-members to the
exclusion of 316L.