ISO (International Organization for Standardization) welcomes as its new President - and the first from Latin America - Mr. Mário Gilberto Cortopassi, of Brazil, who takes office on 1 January 2001 for a two-year term.

A successful industrialist, he trained as a chemist and has acquired considerable experience in the textile and synthetic fibre industries, as well as being very actively involved in standardization over a period of 30 years.

In his inaugural message to ISO's worldwide membership of some 140 national standards bodies, Mr. Cortopassi notes that large sections of the international economy have "gone global" following rapid developments in world trade and e-commerce. More than ever, he says, international technical standards are needed to facilitate business, encourage free trade and foster progress in society.

To enter new markets, and to attract and retain customers, providers of goods and services all over the world have to consider quality and productivity as strategic necessities. Standardization, metrology, testing, conformity assessment and certification are among the key instruments to achieving success.

Mr. Cortopassi adds that ISO itself is successfully responding to market-driven requirements by modernizing its own processes - notably through the use of information technology - to ensure efficient and timely delivery of relevant standards.

Even stronger support from ISO members would facilitate the further development of ISO's success, he says, and that in turn would contribute greatly to the efficiency of the global market-place, helping to extend prosperity to all nations.

With his sons, Mr. Cortopassi runs his own technical and advisory company in São Paulo. Aged 63, he continues to play soccer to keep fit!