Editor’s Note:  An advance copy of a OMB Federal Register notice seeking comment on the revision of Circular A-119, “Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities” is attached here. Below are three excerpts from the Notice.

From: OMB

The proposed revision to Circular A-119 includes the following elements:

Preference for voluntary consensus standards. The revised Circular would maintain a strong preference for using voluntary consensus standards in Federal regulation and procurement.  It would also acknowledge, however, that there may be some standards not developed using a consensus-driven process that are in use in the market – particularly in the information technology space — and that may be relevant (and necessary) in meeting agency missions and priorities.


Burden reduction. The proposed revisions would require agencies to utilize the retrospective review mechanism set out in Executive Orders 13563 and 13610 to implement the Circular, including ensuring that standards incorporated by reference in regulation are updated on a timely basis. The revisions also encourage agencies to work together to reference the same version of a standard in regulation and procurements and coordinate on conformity assessment requirements, where feasible.

International considerations. The proposed revisions incorporate references to traderelated statutory obligations on standards-related measures and direct Federal agencies to consult with USTR on how to comply with international obligations with regard to standards and conformity assessment. They provide guidance on how to identify such obligations, direct agencies to take into account their obligations under Executive Order 13609 when they engage in standards and conformity assessment activities, and encourage greater coordination with respect to the Government’s formulation of global strategies on standards, regulation, and international trade.

Read Complete FR Notice here.