Metrology, Standardization, Testing and Quality, Accreditation and Certification (MSTQ)

January 2007 from

Special Edition: Metrology, Standardization, Testing and Quality,
Accreditation and Certification (MSTQ)

  1. Relevance of MSTQ
  2. International Metrology Related Cooperations
  3. Regional Metrology Organisations (RMO’s)
  4. National Metrology Institutes
  5. Standardizing Organizations
  6. Technical Cooperation
  7. Publications
  8. Related Websites and Databases
  9. Related Linklists

1. Relevance of Metrology, Standardization, Testing and Quality, Accreditation and Certification

One of the consequences of globalisation is the growing competition between individual companies, locations and regions. Almost any place on earth could be considered as a possible production location; and companies market their products wide. But only those who can guarantee international quality standards and production conditions make attractive business partners.

International Standards, and their use in technical regulations on products, production methods and services play an important role in sustainable development and trade facilitation through the promotion of safety, quality and technical compatibility. Traditionally, each country has its own units of measure, quality standards and scales. The more international trade becomes, the more difficult it is to compare the price/performance ratio of products and services. Introducing and applying unified standards makes it possible to compare quality and price. This makes it easier to produce goods to the same quality standard in different countries, and ensures greater transparency for consumers.

In order to match the competition, many developing countries have to drastically change their economic processes. The benefits that are derived are significant. Standards and technical regulations, whether for products, labour, or for the environment, are applied to mitigate against health and environmental risks, to prevent deceptive practices, and to reduce transaction costs in business by providing common reference points for notions of quality, safety, authenticity, good practice, and sustainability. Standardization contributes to the basic infrastructure that underpins society including health and environment while promoting sustainability and good regulatory practice.

In practice, however, standards and technical regulations may be used strategically to enhance the competitive position of countries or individual firms. In recent decades, tariff and quota barriers to trade in many agricultural, food, and manufactured products have declined, enabling a range of developing countries to accelerate their economic growth through expanded exports. Yet, international trade is also governed by an increasing range and variety of product and process standards and technical regulations. Duplicative and discriminatory regulations and standards, however, can be an important factor driving trade transactions costs.

However, rather than constituting barriers to trade, harmonized international standards and regulations can support trade and export expansion. Some of the emerging public and private standards may serve as catalysts, further reducing the transaction costs in long-distance trade, providing both a stimulus and guide for investments in firm and supply chain modernization, and providing increased incentives for the adoption of better and safety farming and manufacturing practices. Under such a scenario, the process of standards compliance could contribute to new forms of competitive advantage and contribute to more sustainable and profitable trade over the longer term.

Only countries with an efficient infrastructure, in particular in the field of metrology and testing, can benefit from the increasing globalization of international relations by trade, division of labour, and investments in the production and tertiary sectors. Reliable measurements are a prerequisite for quality assurance, certification of product properties, environmental protection and the safe application of technology in all fields of everyday life.

Improving developing country capacities in metrology, standardization, testing, quality assurance, accreditation and certification (MSTQ) lie at the core of developing country ability to export promotion. In addition to their role in economic development, MSTQ capacities are fundamental to the strengthening of environmental, health and consumer protection.

Among policy-makers and private entities in developing countries there is growing concern about the proliferation and strengthening of standards and technical regulations and how this is impacting upon their competitiveness. This concern is complex, involving (1) the suspicion that important standards and technical regulations can and will be used as a trade protection measure and be applied in a discriminatory manner; (2) the contention that developing countries lack the administrative, technical and other capacities to comply with the emerging requirements, or that the costs incurred to attain compliance will undermine their comparative advantage; and (3) the proposition that such institutional weaknesses and rising compliance costs will serve to marginalize weaker economic players, including small countries, small enterprises, and small-scale farmers.

2. International Metrology Related Cooperations

Bureau international des poids et mesures (BIPM)
The International Bureau of Weights and Measures is the English name of the BIPM, a standards organisation, one of the three organizations established to maintain the International System of Units (SI) under the terms of the Convention du Mètre (Metre Convention). Note that the abbreviation IBWM is not used. The task of the BIPM is to ensure world-wide uniformity of measurements and their traceability to the International System of Units (SI). It does this with the authority of the Convention du Mètre, a diplomatic treaty between fifty-one nations (as of 2005), and it operates through a series of Consultative Committees, whose members are the national metrology laboratories of the Member States of the Convention, and through its own laboratory work. The BIPM carries out measurement-related research. It takes part in, and organises, international comparisons of national measurement standards, and it carries out calibrations for Member States. The other organisations which maintain the SI system are: the Conférence générale des poids et mesures and the Comité international des poids et mesures.

International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML)
The International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) is an intergovernmental treaty organization whose membership includes Member States, countries which participate actively in technical activities, and Corresponding Members, countries which join the OIML as observers. It was established in 1955 (see the Convention) in order to promote the global harmonization of legal metrology procedures.

Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM)
The Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements or IRMM, located in Geel, Belgium, is one of the seven institutes of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), a Directorate-General of the European Commission (EC). The IRMM promotes a common and reliable European measurement system in support of European Union policies. The institute works on the production and dissemination of quality assurance tools, such as validated methods, reference materials, reference measurements, interlaboratory comparisons and training.

CEN, the European Committee for Standardization
Founded in 1961 by the national standards bodies in the European Economic Community and EFTA countries, CEN is contributing to the objectives of the European Union and European Economic Area with voluntary technical standards which promote free trade, the safety of workers and consumers, interoperability of networks, environmental protection, exploitation of research and development programmes, and public procurement.

The International Accreditation Forum, Inc. (IAF)
World association of Conformity Assessment Accreditation Bodies in the fields of management systems, products, services, personnel and other similar programmes of conformity assessment.

International Organisation of Standards Users (IFAN)
IFAN ims to eliminate technical barriers to trade by use of international standards, is currently working on a user’s guideline for standardisation organisations.

EA Accredited Bodies
European Accreditation (EA) is developing a European database containing information about laboratories and bodies accredited by the EA members. The database is operational from June 15, 2004 and provides online information about calibration laboratories accredited by the Danish (DANAK), Finnish (FINAS), French (COFRAC), German (DAR-DKD) and English (UKAS) accreditation bodies.

Further Weblinks:
International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC),
International Telecommunication Union (ITU),

International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC),
International Measurement Confederation (IMEKO),
European Cooperation for Legal Metrology (WELMEC),
Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO),

3. Regional Metrology Organisations (RMO’s)

The metrological world is represented by several regional metrology groupings, who have similar aims and objectives:

EUROMET: European Metrology
APMP (Asia Pacific Metrology Programme),
COOMET (Cooperation in Metrology among the Central European countries),
SADCMET (Southern African Development Community Cooperation in Measurement Traceability),
SIM (Sistema Interamericano de Metrologia), including NORAMET (North American Metrology Cooperation),

4. National Metrology Institutes

Argentina: Instituto Argentino de Normalización y Certificación,
Australia: Division of Telecommunication & Industrial Physics (CSIRO),
Brazil: Instituto Nacional de Metrologia, Normalização e Qualidade Industrial (INMETRO),
Canada: Institute for National Measurement Standards (INMS),

China, China National Institute of Standardization (CNIS),
Germany: Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB),
India: Standardisation, Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) Directorate,
Institute for Standards, Metrology and Intellectual Property of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BASMP),
Italy: Istituto Elettrotecnico Nazionale Galileo Ferraris (IEN),
Japan: National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology AIST,

Netherlands: Nederlands Meetinstituut (NMi),
Russia: Federal Agency on Technical Regulating and Metrology (GOST R),
Serbia and Montenegro: Institution for Standardization of Serbia and Montenegro (ISSM),
South Africa: National Metrology Laboratory (NML),
Switzerland: Bundesamt für Metrologie und Akkreditierung,
Tunisia: National Institute for Standardization and Industrial Property (INNORPI),

Ukraine: State Committee of Ukraine on Technical Regulation and Consumer Policy (DSSU),
United Kingdom: National Physical Laboratory (NP),
USA: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST),

5. Standardizing Organizations and User Associations

AFNOR Association Française de Normalisation,
African Organization for Standardization,

Association française pour la connaissance et l’application des normes (ACANOR),
British Standards Society (BSS),
CEOC (European Confederation of Organisations for Testing, Inspection, Certification and Prevention) – a voluntary group of organisations for testing, technical inspection, certification of products and Quality Management Systems and risk prevention.
China Association for Standardization (CAS),
Deutsches Institut fur Normung (DIN),
ANP German Committee of Standards Users,

EA (European cooperation for Accreditation) for mutual recognition of certificates for calibration and test services.
Eurachem – a network of organisations in Europe having the objective of establishing a system for the international traceability of chemical measurements and the promotion of good quality practices,
EUROLAB – the European Federation of National Associations of Measurement, Testing and Analytical Laboratories
International Commission on Illumination (CIE),
International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC),
International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation, ILAC is an international cooperation of laboratory and inspection accreditation bodies,

International Measurement Confederation (IMEKO),
International Standards Organisation (ISO),
International Telecommunications Union (ITU),
IQNet Association International Certification Network, IQNet is an Association composed of 38 certification/registration bodies, with legal seat in Bern/Switzerland.
Japanese Standards Association (JSA ),
Pan American Standards Commission (COPANT),

Standards Engineering Society (SES),
NORMAPME European Office of Craft/Trades and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises for Standardisation, is the unique European organisation focused on small enterprise interests in the European standardisation system. Its members represent over 11 million enterprises in all European countries, including all EU and EFTA member states.

6. Technical Cooperation

INTRACEN’s Standards and Quality Management programme
The Standards and Quality Management programme aims to support enterprises to meet standards, technical regulations and sanitary and phytosanitary measures in their export markets; to strengthen the capacities of organizations dealing with Standardization, Quality Assurance, Accreditation and Metrology (SQAM) to provide services to enterprises. The Standards and Quality Management Programme addresses the quality related needs of exporters in developing countries and economies in transition and concentrates on i

nstitutional and capacity development in the export quality management field.

Standards and Trade Development Facility
The Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) is a global programme in capacity building and technical assistance to assist developing countries in trade and SPS measures established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

PTB and development cooperation
The National Metrology Institute of Germany (PTB) implements technical cooperation projects on behalf of the BMZ in fields including mensuration, standardisation, testing, and quality assurance. Projects aim to help set up and consolidate quality assurance infrastructures in threshold and developing countries. The international activities of the PTB in the area of Technical Cooperation all have the same objective: to assist the developing and threshold countries in setting up a sound MSTQ system. This acronym stands for measurement, standardization, testing and quality assurance, the four columns of metrology. They are so to say the solid foundation on which an industrialized state rests – from the metrological point of view. And most project partners of the PTB are states which are already on their way to industrialization.

The NMS International Metrology Programme

This Programme is funded by the UK National Measurement System (NMS), The International Metrology Programme was launched in April 2001 and is now in it’s second three year programme, running from April 2004 to March 2007. The aim of the International Programme is to ensure fair and safe international competition, to unlock the nation’s innovative potential through an optimal metrology infrastructure, to effectively represent the national interest at the international table and to play a leading role in initiatives affecting the economic and social well being of the nation. The International Office at the UK National Physical Laboratory has been established in response to the growing internationalisation of metrology. Its key role is to ensure that the UK has a coherent and strategic approach to International issues and to provide a gateway to overseas organisations, in particular National Metrology Institutes (NMIs).

Swiss programme of technical cooperation in the field of standards and technical regulations
This SECO prgramme aims at supporting developing countries and transition economies in effectively benefiting from market access opportunities in the world trading system by assisting them in meeting the requirements of international markets.

DTI Knowledge Transfer Programme
The National Measurement System (NMS) provides world-class measurement standards and calibration facilities. A DTI-funded programme promoting services available to industry from the UK’s National Measurement System.


National Weights & Measures Laboratory (UK),
Nederlands Meetinstituut NMi (Netherlands),
Deutsche Akademie für Metrologie DAM (Germany),
Laboratoire national de métrologie et d’essais (France),
Compliance online Training

7. Publications

Quality infrastructure:
a contribution to the promotion of the economic development in Technical Cooperation
This 12-page brochure describes the correlations between quality infrastructure and promotion of the economic development in a concrete way. It reflects the work of PTB’s TC from the point of view of the current discussion on development politics, gives a clear orientation and illustrates its potential. Great importance is attached to the interaction with the international institutional MSTQ landscape, and the linkage with the WTO agreements is shown. It is pointed up that a complete and internationally recognized network for quality infrastructure is not only indispensable, but also universally applicable.

Metrology – in short, 2nd Edition, April 2004

Quality Infrastructure, Conformity Assessment – Metrology, Standardization, Testing, Quality Management (MSTQ)
German BMZ Concepts No. 130

Benefit of Legal Metrology for the Economy and Society
A study by John Birch A.M. for the International Committee of Legal Metrology

An Introduction to Standards and Standardization
by Wilfried Hesser, Alex Inklaar

EUROMET’s policy on the Application of Quality System in National Metrology Institutes

EUROMET and its International Relations

Establishment of National Capability Providing Instrumentation Support Services: Case Study
UNIDO Trade Capacity Building, Industrial Promotion and Technology Branch, UNIDO Working Paper Series 04/05

Guidelines for the establishment of simplified metrology regulations

Elements for a Law on Metrology

DTI – Innovation Report
Competing in the Global Economy: the Innovation Challenge

International vocabulary of terms in legal metrology (VIML) (bilingual French-English) / Vocabulaire international des termes de métrologie légale (VIML) (bilingue français-anglais)

Certification of Organic Foodstuffs in Developing Countries
A GTZ publication

Do standards matter for export success?, Tsune Otsuki, Maggie Xiaoyang Chen, John S. Wilson, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 3809.
In this paper the authors examine how meeting foreign standards affects firms‘ export performance, reflected in export propensity and market diversification. The analysis draws on the World Bank Technical Barriers to Trade Survey database of 619 firms in 17 developing countries. The results indicate that technical regulations in industrial countries adversely affect firms‘ propensity to export in developing countries.

The cost of compliance with product standards for firms in developing countries: an econometric study,
This World Bank Policy Research Working Paper uses econometric models to provide the first estimates of the incremental production costs for firms in developing nations in conforming to standards imposed by major importing countries. They use firm-level data generated from 16 developing countries in the World Bank Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Survey Database. Their findings indicate that standards do increase short-run production costs by requiring additional inputs of labor and capital.

Standards and Global Trade: A Voice for Africa
The World Bank 2003

Values and Rules of Global Trade
Quality Infrastructure: a Step towards Good Governance

The Role of International and National Agencies in Trade-Capacity Building
by Susan Prowse, UNIDO

ISO Publications
ISO Store
Catalog of OIML Publications:

NORMAPME Newsletter
Subscriptions: Birte M. Day, Press and Communications officer, Ph: +32 2 2820 539, info @

PTB’s Candela
Information sheet published at regular intervals with communications and news from PTB’s Technical Cooperation.

ISO Management Systems e-newsletter
Alerts to new ISO press releases and new ISO Web site items on ISO 9000, ISO 14000, social responsibility.

8. Related Websites and Databases

WSSN World Standards Services Network

World Standards Services Network (WSSN), is a network of publicly accessible World Wide Web servers of standards organizations around the world. Through the Web sites of its members, WSSN provides information on international, regional and national standardization and related activities and services.

ISO/IEC Information Centre (ISOIEC)
Provides stakeholders with information about standardization, standards and related matters. This site of the ISO/IEC Information Centre serves as a portal to the main information given on various pages of the ISO and IEC Web sites e.g. the ISO and IEC Catalogues, provides an enquiry service for users and gives access to the Web sites of national standards organizations via WSSN.

EUR-Lex provides direct free access to European Union law on metroloy related issues.

EPTIS European Information System on Proficiency Testing Schemes
The EPTIS database lists hundreds of PT schemes (PTS) operated in Europe, the Americas and in Australia. It aims at helping you to find a suitable PTS in this quite intransparent market. The focus is on the field of testing; metrological and clinical PTS are not included systematically. EPTIS is a non-commercial, joint publication of many international organisations in Europe and the Americas, and open for further international participation.

Virtual Institute for Reference Materials (VIRM)
Find a Reference Material by using the extensive searchable data base on RMs, find RM specialists, use the scientific HelpDesk, get the bimonthly VIRM Newsletter by e-mail, locate a publication/report in the Library (many are downloadable in pdf format), look for Conferences or training Workshops, RM related Projects, or Links. RM Producers and RM Users are invited to enter information on the site.

Valid Analytical Measurement
Visit the VAM website for free advice and information on reference materials and other measurement issues

The BIPM key comparison database
The BIPM key comparison database is defined in the text of the MRA as the database maintained by the BIPM (Bureau International des Poids et Mesures) which contains Appendices A, B, C and D of the Mutual Recognition Arrangement.

ISONET – the ISO Information Network
ISONET is an agreement between standardizing bodies to combine their efforts in order to make information on standards, technical regulations and related matters readily available whenever it is required.

The Standards Portal
The Standards Portal is an online resource designed to provide information and educational materials on standardization—including conformity assessment and mandatory technical regulations. The aim of the Standards Portal is to facilitate trade between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China.

International Information Centre for Terminology (Infoterm)
With increasing specialization in business as well as in science and technology, specialized knowledge keeps growing, and with it the number of technical terms. With the right terminology, we can communicate in the “right” way and understand each other correctly.

IQNet database on certified/registered companies
IQNet and its partners established a common database on certified/registered companies. All certificates/registrations contained in this database are issued by IQNet partners. Certificates/registrations mean mainly third-party certification/registration of management systems in accordance with international standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, sector specific standards, or national standards.

Compliance online
An information portal for compliance, standards and quality. A place users can visit to access the latest thinking, the most innovative ideas, the best practices and the largest repository of products in quality and compliance.

NIST Virtual Library
Information resources that support NIST staff research needs. Browse the Library’s Online Catalog and list of E-Journals; search science and engineering Databases; gather information on Patents and Standards, or use reference tools such as dictionaries and thesauri.

Information Portal of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt
German only.

Technical Barriers to Trade database
The World Bank has completed a new database on technical barriers to trade and standards, based on a survey of 689 firms in 17 developing countries. The World Bank Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) database includes information on both mandatory technical regulations, as well as the use of voluntary standards.

Dictionary of basic and general terms in metrology
by Tampere University of Technology, Finland

The Science and Development Network (SciDev.Net)
SciDev aims to provide reliable and authoritative information about science and technology for the developing world.

Nanotechnology for Development
Development Gateway Portal

The WWW Virtual Library for Technology Assessment
The VL for Technology Assessment consists of links to resources on the use of new technologies within their societal context. Technology Assessment provides the basis for developing technological and organisational design alternatives and any required regulatory measures.

Physics Departments Worldwide
PhysDep – Physics Departments Worldwide – offers lists of links to worldwide distributed physics institutions, such as institutes and departments at universities, ordered by continent, country and town.

Online Conversion Sites

9. Related Linklists

BIPM Link Database

WSSN links to International Standardizing Bodies

Alphabetical list of Web sites in WSSN

EUROMET Member list

European Accreditation Links

Alphabetical list of ILAC members and contact details

Links relevant to Valid Analytical Measurement

VIRM database for a Glossary

TÜV Rheinland Links

INMS Links to other National Metrology Institutes

APMP’s Useful Links for Developing Economies