The U.S. Commerce Department on May 18 released a report on reducing standards-related barriers to world trade that promotes, among its recommendations, the development of a public/private task force to help prevent or resolve such barriers. The report, "Standards and Competitiveness -- Coordinating for Results," summarizes Commerce Department standards-related activities. Its release comes slightly more than a year after the launch of the Commerce Department's Standards Initiative in March 2003. The National Association of Manufacturers, Washington, D.C., hailed the report. "The NAM has long urged the Commerce Department to increase its focus on standards and competitiveness, and this report and its recommendations are just the kind of help that our members need," said NAM President Jerry Jasinowski. Recommendations cited in the report include the creation of a national standards award, the development of a "high-level" standards trade mission focused on promoting a U.S. approach to standards, and the expansion of standards curricula in engineering and business schools. "We're committed to ensuring that standards are fair and responsive to market and technology needs," said Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans. "In many ways, this is the beginning of a new Commerce partnership with industry to combat standards as trade barriers to American goods and services." A PDF of the complete report is available at www.technology.gov/reports/NIST/2004/trade_barriers.pdf.