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President of EU Academy for Standardisation criticizes OOXML, says duplicative standards conflict with WTO rules
Thursday, March 27 2008 @ 05:15 PM EDT

Here's a story I wasn't expecting, but some of you more familiar with WTO rules perhaps were, a story that the president of the European Academy for Standardisation, Tineke Egyedi, is critical of OOXML being made a standard when ODF exists already, and she believes duplicative standards conflict with WTO rules:
Egyedi, a researcher of technical standards, at the Technical University in Delft, the Netherlands, doubts whether ISO should have a taken into consideration a second standard for electronic documents at all. ISO approved the Open Document Format ODF in 2006, says Egyedi: "What are we to do with a second standard, which is overlapping the first? This conflicts with rules of the World Trade Organisation."

The standards specialist refers to the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, which states that duplication or overlap should be avoided.

Egyedi made her remarks last week, at the end of a public discussion on OOXML, she organised for students at her University. During the discussion, representatives of the Dutch government said that an approval by the ISO would not automatically make OOXML ready for use by the Dutch government. This would depend on whether or not OOXMl would be approved by a government commission that sets standards for public administration.

So you know what she is talking about, here's the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade agreement [PDF].


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