NFPA-China pact good for installers

Friday, September 1, 2006

QUINCY, Mass.--American fire systems manufacturers and installers may see increased business as the result of a licensing agreement signed in July by National Fire Protection Association president James Shannon and the Tianjin Fire Research Institute of China.
While "the main purpose of the agreement is to ensure that products meet safety requirements," said Olga Caledonia, executive director of global operations for the NFPA, "these agreements do open [trade] markets" for American companies.
Shannon said in a statement that the agreement, which is for the translation of more than 30 NFPA codes, handbooks and reference materials, "greatly broadens the reach of fire prevention messages and safety practices within the international community." The NFPA has been active in China for more than a decade, with official representation in that country since 2003. The NFPA plans to open an office in Bejing before the end of the year.
Several American companies work with the NFPA in its international efforts. Isaac Papier, vice president of industry relations for Honeywell Life Safety, noted that many countries with "emerging economies look to the U.S. as a model for business, education, manufacturing and safety. When it comes to safety, the NFPA name is often mentioned."
In June, Papier conducted a seminar in Vietnam, with Yuanjing Liu, NFPA's chief China representative. "Although most people in the audience did not know exactly what NFPA does, all were aware that it is part of the U.S. safety system."
Papier said the Chinese licensing agreements "can help both U.S. manufacturers and installers when the NFPA code or a harmonized document is adopted as the national norm in the contracting country. Clearly this makes it much easier for companies familiar with the NFPA codes to do business in these countries."
Papier encouraged more American companies to get involved in the process. "In order for NFPA to achieve this type of success, it must have a sustained presence in these countries. Such presence is an expensive undertaking and industry should not expect NFPA to do this alone," he said. "As there is clear benefit to U.S. industry for emerging economies to adopt the NFPA system of codes and standards, we must work with NFPA to achieve the required level of support."