ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden met the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Mr. Akhmietov, and the Minister for Industry and Trade, Mr. Zhaksybekov, during a visit to the country in late May to participate in the 25th session of the Interstate Council of the Euro-Asian Standardization Cooperation (EASC), which was attended by the representatives of 14 countries of the region.

During his stay, Mr. Bryden encouraged the public authorities and all other economic actors to increase their participation in international standardization which supported of their country's economic competitiveness and social development.

He welcomed Kazakhstan's current projects to adjust its legal framework for technical regulations, as well as to build up its infrastructure and increase initiatives to promote quality in industry and services. Mr. Bryden expressed the hope that this would improve the case for Kazakhstan eventually joining the World Trade Organization.

Ten out of the 12 countries comprising the EASC are ISO members, particpating in 618 of the organization's 3 000 standards-developing technical committees, subcommittees and working groups.

Many of the more than 14 300 International Standards in ISO's current portfolio have direct relevance for the development of Central Asia, such as standards for heavy machinery, mining equipment and ores, the oil and gas industry, transportation, health technologies, food processing, consumer goods, water supply services, quality and environmental management and information technology.