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UK import and export compliance services

History of Standards

A standard is a document which provides “for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context.



The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the world’s largest developer and publisher of International Standards.
ISO is a network of the global national standards institutes of 157 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system. Members include the British Standards Institution (BSI) German Institute for Standardization (DIN) operating from Berlin since 1917 and the French Association Françoise de Normalisation (AFNOR) established since 1926 and governed by French law of 1901.


National Standard 

Developed by a technical committee. The committee consists of one representative from the National Standards Body and representatives from industry, trade associations, government and sometimes someone representing the “consumer”. This work is voluntary to ensure unbias.

International Standard (ISO)

Developed by technical committee. This work is usually proposed by a national standards body. The committee consists of representatives from ISO and national standards bodies. The general rule is that the chairman appointed represents the standards body that has proposed the new work. Each member body selects which committee it wishes to join.

European Standard (EN)

Developed by technical committees. The work is split into two sectors:

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

The European Committee for Electotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) created in 1973 and comprising of the National Electrotechnical Committees of 38 European countries to develop standards requested by the market and harmonized standards in support of European legislation which has helped shape the European Internal Market. CENELEC’s mission is to prepare voluntary electrotechnical standards that help develop the Single European Market/European Economic Area for electrical and electronic goods and services removing barriers to trade, creating new markets and cutting compliance costs.