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Agreement reached on Japanese Software standard.

ARLINGTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 29, 1995--The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Japan Accreditation Board (JAB) today announced an agreement to drop a proposal requesting that all foreign software be certified to the Japanese quality standard, ISO 9000-3 (this is a Japanese variation of the International Standards Organization's ISO 9000).

The agreement eliminates the specific JAB "add ons" to the ISO 9001 standard. As a result, Japan's policies would be consistent with -- and not depart from -- international norms.

American Software Association (ASA) Vice President Jon Englund called the announcement an important step forward in U.S. trade with Japan. Englund said, "U.S. software exports to Japan were valued at $2.7 billion last year. Some groups estimate that software of some kind is included in about 30% of the $53 billion in annual U.S. exports to Japan. Software companies estimate that development costs would increase by 20% if they were required to certify to Japan's ISO 9000-3 standard. Had this proposal been implemented, it would have constituted a non-tariff trade barrier for U.S. software exports to Japan. As a result, ITAA's American Software Association has been active in opposing the JAB proposal."

The Japanese software quality plan, first announced by the JAB in April, would have required software companies to submit their work to a quality review panel under its ISO 9000 Software Quality Registration scheme. The JAB proposal could not only have constituted a significant non-tariff trade barrier for U.S. software exports but, as ASA pointed out in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor, there is no evidence that this proposal would have improved the quality of software, and significant proprietary information and know-how could have been exposed to auditors during the certification process (initially only Japanese registrars would have been accredited).

With over 6700 direct and affiliate member companies, ITAA is the principal representative of the nation's computer software and services industry. The America Software Association represents the client/server software industry and includes among its members: Oracle Corporation, Microsoft, Computer Associates, Netscape Communications, Sterling Software, and Dun & Bradstreet Software. -0-

Japan's ISO 9000 Proposal

Background Information

April, 1995 JAB unveils its Quality System Registration

Program for Software Suppliers.

June 20 ITAA writes to its sister organization in Japan

(the Japan Information Service Industry Association)

requesting more information on the JAB's proposal.

July 4 JISA replies and provides more details on the nature of

the proposal.

July 11 The President of ANSI (Mr. Sergio Mazza) writes

to the Director General of the Standards Department at

MITI (Mr. Masami Tanaka) to explore ways to resolve the

dispute.

July 12 ITAA writes to U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor

to express opposition to the proposal and asking for

U.S. Government support.

July 14 The Japanese Industrial Standards Committee (JISC)

responds, suggesting that "the practical way to resolve

this problem is to set up an expert meeting between

U.S. and Japan..."

August 8 A meeting is set up between ANSI and JISC to take place

in Hawaii on September 21 - 22 to resolve the dispute.

August 16 The Office of the United States Trade Representative

responds to ITAA's request. Barbara Weisel, Director of

Policy Planning for Japan, states: "We share your

concerns over the proposed program and have formally

passed them on to the Japanese Government. As you note

your letter, there is no evidence that the program would

further quality goals for software design or performance

or that there is any consumer demand for such a

program...by requiring foreign firms to provide

sensitive proprietary technology and expertise to Japan,

the program provides significant opportunities for

abuse."

August 19/20 Representatives of ANSI and JISC meet and reach

agreement in principle.

August 29 JAB ratifies initial agreement. Implementation plan

to be resolved later.

CONTACT: ITAA, Arlington

Bob Cohen, 703/284-5333
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Date:Aug 29, 1995
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