Global Regulation Goals and Gaps: Overview and Analysis of the International Harmonization of Automobile Standards 2005-01-1940
The economic benefits and market expansions enabled by the regional expansion of automobile standards have reached a natural limit due to an international clash of different standards systems. The automobile industry and market are now truly global, however, standards remain a regional and national issue. Until these standards are harmonized, they will act as a barrier to trade. Industry, standards developing organizations (SDOs), and governments worldwide have recognized the value in harmonizing global standards by the creation of global technical regulations (GTRs), but each approach the issue with their own agenda.
This paper evaluates the differing goals of industry, U.S. government and U.S.-domiciled SDOs, obtained by interview with experts from each, while providing a comprehensive overview of the implications of standards harmonization, and finally, recommendations for the advancement of GTRs. Specifically outlined and analyzed are the current U.S. goals (EPA and NHTSA) at Working Party 29, the international forum for harmonization of vehicle standards. Also specifically addressed are SAE committees and standards in relation to U.S. goals and current proposed GTRs.
This research has found education and collaboration as the largest single gap to the formation of GTRs. Some of the largest misunderstandings are: 1) industry has changed even in the last ten years such that the promulgation of European standards is not a detriment to “U.S. Industry”-they already produce for European markets, and 2) U.S. domiciled SDOs may produce internationally relevant standards. Part of this is due to ever-present political contentions that must be guarded against if any progress is to be made. Each of these players seems to have more to gain than to lose by collaboration despite conflicting motives, especially as domestic entities face a common international competition.