For the first time, a leading standards development organization based in the U.S. has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the national standards body of China. This historic event occurred on Aug. 20 in Beijing when senior officials from ASTM International and the Standardization Administration of the People's Republic of China (SAC) signed an MOU to strengthen the relationship between the two standards organizations. The MOU was signed by ASTM International president James A. Thomas and SAC vice administrator Zhang Yanhua. The signing, along with participation in standardization workshops held in Beijing earlier that week, is the latest event in ASTM's ongoing involvement in Chinese standardization. The MOU will enhance the ability of SAC and ASTM International to support the needs of the Chinese people and aid in the development of Chinese national standards for health, safety and the environment. Following the signing, Thomas stated, "ASTM standards have a century of history in the world's marketplace, helping to ensure good quality products and accurate testing procedures. With China's trade topping $400 billion for both imports and exports in 2003, standards are of the utmost importance. The signing of this MOU with the SAC is a great step forward to encouraging greater access to ASTM standards in China, as well as a bigger voice by Chinese experts in the content of ASTM standards."