By the end of 1998, nearly 272,000 ISO 9000 certificates had been issued around the world, according to the latest release of The ISO Survey of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 Certificates. That figure represents an increase of almost 49,000 over previous year-end figures, led by the United States' 6,406 new additions and Italy's 5,961. Regionally, Europe continues to lead in the number of IS0 9000 certificates, accounting for 61% of the total. However, notes the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the growth of ISO 9000 certification in other regions is amply demonstrated by the fact that as recently as five years ago, Europe accounted for 83% of all ISO 9000 certificates. For the first time, the survey also tracks the number of ISO 9000 certificates that have been withdrawn over the years. At the end of 1998 nearly 4,300 certificates had been withdrawn, half of them because the holder organizations decided to discontinue certification.