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14 September 1998
Service standards for open global markets

In 1998, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is organizing, with WTO support, four regional seminars on the harmonization of standards in services. The primary purpose of these seminars will be to explore the interest of major users and suppliers in broad service sectors (tourism, banking, financial accounting, engineering consultancy, education, etc.) in the need for International Standards to support their business needs and to facilitate international trade in their sectors. Information about existing and successful standards in various sectors will be presented, as well as a basic outline of how things get done in the ISO system. If significant interest is identified for new areas of International Standards work, individual ISO members in the region will be in a good position to initiate appropriate follow-up work.

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The first regional seminar, focusing on hotel, hospitality staff training and exhibition management, was held in Singapore on 31 March - 1 April 1998, hosted by the Singapore Productivity and Standards Board. The other seminars to be held in the course of 1998 are as follows:

* in Argentina hosted by IRAM: a 2-day seminar in Buenos Aires, with a focus on Banking/Insurance and Tourism/Hotel Certification (14 and 15 October 1998);

* in France, hosted by AFNOR: a one-and-a-half-day seminar in Paris, focusing on a multisectoral approach (policy and concepts, French and foreign success stories, opening towards international standardization) (4 and 5 November 1998);

* in the USA, hosted by ANSI: several one-day seminars, back-to-back with a number of national industry meetings, with a focus on Engineering consultancy (back-to-back with the Fall conference of the American Consulting Engineering Council, Greebrier resort, West Virginia, 6 November 1998), Hotels (tentative: third quarter of 1998), Travel agents (tentative: third quarter of 1998).

For information on these seminars, please contact Ms. Sophie Clivio, Tel. +41 22 749 7111, Fax: +49 22 733 3430, e-mail: clivio@iso.ch.