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Standardization and policy: Together and for the benefit of people

Standardization policy-related action is what makes the development process of standards and specifications possible in the first place. Its purpose is to disseminate, improve and fully demonstrate the extensive benefits of standards and specifications for society, economy, science and state.

Johannes Koch

Standardization is a major component of international and European trade and opens up markets both locally and around the world. Germany, as an industrial country, profits from uniform technical specifications, but less industrialized countries can also participate in international trade using uniform technical rules in standards and have confidence in safe products.

In this sense, the World Trade Organization (WTO) considers standardization to be an important aspect of the free movement of goods and borderless trade. Throughout the world, standardization organizations work closely with politicians and governments to ensure that the framework conditions continue to allow for strong standardization that creates prosperity and safety for people.

What impact does standardization policy have on society?

The coordinated collaboration between governments and standardization organizations is referred to as standardization policy and is intended to achieve aspired objectives on the respective national and international levels through an overarching concept.

Standardization policy calls on the public to comply with existing standards so they can demonstrate their full benefit. In electrotechnology, “public” is increasingly understood to mean the economic sector with its manufacturers and dealers. Here, products and systems are produced and made available on the market and require standards to make them safe and better.

Compliance with standardized rules on the part of the market participants is therefore the highest priority in order to protect society as a whole, companies and the environment from the dangers of using electrotechnical devices and systems.

Importance of standardization: Benefit and advantages

Standards are extremely useful; that applies nationally, in Europe and internationally. For consumers and users as well as the economy, science and state. Standards and specifications ensure safety and pave the way for innovative technologies.

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Standardization policy: greater ability to compete due to fewer trade barriers

The significance of standardization policy in the collaboration between standardization and the government becomes clear on the national level: Standardization plays a supporting role for deregulation, meaning, the dismantling or reduction of market regulation by the government. This collaboration is referred to as the „Public Private Partnership“ and has been active in Germany for more than 100 years. The collaboration is defined in the so-called “Normvertrag” (Standards Agreement) between the Federal Republic of Germany, DIN and DKE, which has now been in effect for over 40 years.

The objectives of German standardization policy are based on the German Standardization Strategy. In the strategy, the economy and society are confirmed as the driving forces behind standardization. The objective is to outwardly reinforce Germany’s position as a leading economic nation by breaking down trade barriers through harmonizing the German and international bodies of standards.

The legislature should be supported by intelligent, largely independent standardization in order to meet the special requirements of the economy. Standardization always strives to be a coherent body of standards, so standards and specifications do not contradict each other and efficient interaction is established. On the basis of laws and directives, politicians leave the definition of technical rules to the standardization organizations. This disencumbers the legislature which prepares, recognizes and funds the standardization work.

The standardization organizations’ work creates opportunities to collaborate with the economy and various interest groups. In this way, the general public is also aware of the standardization.

Another important objective is to provide the impetus for sustainable development in future planning. An important example is how society, politics and the economy handle the digital transformation.

Logo Deutsche Normungsstrategie

German standardization strategy: Shape the future with standardization!

Standardization in Germany serves industry and society to strengthen, shape and develop regional and global markets. The German standardization strategy is the basis for all groups involved in standardization in Germany and defines essential objectives.

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A global system reinforced by international standards

In addition to the relief standardization offers at the national level, it is enormously important internationally. Global relationships and collaborations formed by international standardization policy support standardization at all levels. This is easily recognizable considering that international cooperation promotes the development of a globally uniform body of standards which establishes a mutual understanding among market participants.

By applying uniform standards and specifications, markets are globally linked and trade is made easier. If, for instance, trade partners act in compliance with the same framework conditions defined by generally recognized standards, trade barriers are broken down and the movement of goods and exports are simplified.

International cooperation is therefore an essential part of standardization and is of major significance as it results in a globally strengthened system.


Dr. Junji Nomura and Dr. Bernard Thies sign the Frankfurt Agreement during the IEC GM 2016| DKE


International standardization policy: Strengthening collaboration between IEC and CENELEC

With the signing of the President of the IEC, Dr. Junji Nomura, and of CENELEC, Dr. Bernhard Thies, the work on the Frankfurt Agreement was concluded during the IEC general meeting in Frankfurt in 2016. The agreement governs the close cooperation between the international standardization organization IEC and its European equivalent CENELEC.

Learn more about the Frankfurt Agreement

Standardization and policy: Who profits from this cooperation?

Participants: Efficiency through technical delimitation

At the national level, the government is disencumbered by placing the definition of technical rules in the hands of experts in the standardization organizations. This, in turn, requires a statutory foundation in which the standardization is embedded. The frequent reference to standards in legislative texts in an indicator of a functioning interaction between the various institutions.

Economy: Keep Germany competitive

Companies in Germany are active on the global market with the export of high-quality products and technologies.

Breaking down non-tariff trade barriers by using standards creates growth and prosperity as well as increased product safety. Participation in the European and international standardization via the German standardization organizations open up many economic benefits to companies in Germany. Of course, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are also impacted by a coherent and up-to-date body of standards. They profit from the opportunity to make future-proof investments.

Society: Protect consumers against hazards

The interaction between standardization and policy provides society a direct benefit as an amalgamation of consumers.

On the one hand, it increases the selection between similar and equivalent products from various manufacturers which promotes competition to the consumers benefit. On the other hand, risks are reduced as a result of defining political framework conditions and implementing technical protection specifications via standardization.

Demands for the new legislative period 2021 to 2025

Shaping the digital decade with standards and specifications

For the new legislative period, the DKE has published its positions for a digital and electric future and strong electrotechnical standardization. From this, it is clear that standards and specifications support political goals such as cyber security, energy transition and the expansion of electromobility. However, for German standardization to remain strong in Europe and worldwide, it still needs a political framework that takes into account the strategic value of standardization and supports companies in their standardization work.

The DKE position paper on the new legislative period includes the following specific demands:

  • A rethought national and European strategy is needed. A strategy which sees standards and specifications not as a technical aid, but as a sharp sword in global trade policy.
  • New government support mechanisms must be put in place to ensure that the competitive strength of German SMEs is maintained in standardization in the future.
  • In Europe, efficient and partnership-based cooperation between the European Commission and the European standards organizations must be maintained.
  • Standardization must be integrated into academic teaching. The aim must be to secure or expand the number of German experts on the committees of DKE, CENELEC and IEC.

The DKE will take advantage of the time when the government is being formed to make contact with members of parliament and their parliamentary groups in order to emphasize the great importance of electrotechnical standardization.

International cooperation in electrotechnical standardization

News on politics and strategy in standardization

Standardization and strategy

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Digitalization is advancing, new technological innovations are emerging, the world is growing together. We take this into account by always developing strategies at national, European and international level and attending those that help to overcome existing hurdles and successfully implement new goals and measures in society, business, politics and standardization.

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