Archive

No. 1, 2005

Marina Glazatova,
Cand. Sc., Director of the Department of Technical Regulation and Metrology of the RF Ministry for Industry and Energy

IN STEP WITH THE TIMES


The formation of a technical regulation system is proceeding successfully in Russia

Under contemporary economic conditions, it is essential to choose regulation

mechanisms that meet the criteria of economic efficiency and adequate applicability in terms of resolving government tasks. The technical regulations that the RF Ministry for Industry and Energy has started elaborating will constitute just such rules, taking into account the interests of Russia's economy.

An important task

Modernization of the technical regulation system is very important for legislative regulation of the economy.

On July 1, 2003, the RF Federal Law of the Russian Federation On Technical Regulation came into force, thereby laying the foundations for new engineering law and mechanisms for its application.

For the purpose of the full implementation of the provisions of this law, a seven-year transition period is envisaged. In accordance with Article 7 (12) of the law, the Government of the Russian Federation is to adopt and annually update a program for the elaboration of technical regulations with a view to fulfilling the tasks of technical regulation, taking into account the interests of the national economy, the development level of the physical infrastructure, scientific and technological progress, and international rules and regulations.

The RF Ministry for Industry and Energy is currently facing a difficult task. We have virtually initiated the creation of a completely new branch of law. There is no engineering law in Russia as an independent aggregate of legal rules and it is difficult to create one from scratch, because to a certain extent, we are to build a hierarchy of technical regulations for ourselves.

The task now facing the Ministry consists of taking stock and realigning the regulatory legal acts and dividing them into two groups. The first group will include technical regulations containing, of course, mandatory requirements on the safety of products and production processes. These might naturally include requirements assuring safety indirectly: on labeling, packaging and identification of products. The second group will include voluntary application standards, both national and corporate.

Under the provisions of the law On Technical Regulation, technical regulations are to be adopted as either federal laws or resolutions of the RF Government or, in case of emergency, as Presidential decrees, upon completion of special public discussion procedures provided for by law, which all together should ensure the transparency and objectivity of the establishment of mandatory requirements.

In the sphere of voluntary requirements, voluntary standards and standardization systems might compete with one another to enhance the competitiveness of products.

The procedure for performing this work is determined by the law itself and requires precise interaction between the government and the public. Technical regulations and national standards may be elaborated both on the initiative of the RF Government and by the interested public and scientific organizations and companies on their own. Irrespective of who drafted these documents, they must undergo public review, with the interested entities and government agencies involved.

Sectoral regulations

A 2004-2006 Technical Regulations Development Program was adopted on November 6, 2004. The initial technical regulations will be drawn up within a period of two years and at the expense of the federal budget. The overall Program cost is 264,800,000 rubles, which is distributed as follows by years: 110 million - 2004, 117.4 million - 2005, and the balance for 2006. The remaining block of technical regulations will, however, be drawn up over the next two years at the developers' own expense.

In all, the Program contains 74 items, seven of them being general technical regulations and the remaining 67 - system-forming technical regulations for different sectors of the economy.

The list of technical regulations elaborated includes five items relating to the legislative regulation of the oil and gas complex: on safety of oil and gas production, transportation and storage processes (the deadline for submitting a draft technical regulation to the RF Government is April 2006); on safety of production processes in the petrochemical industry (the deadline for submitting a draft technical regulation to the RF Government is May 2006); on safety of gas production and supply processes and systems (the deadline for submitting a draft technical regulation to the RF Government is June 2006); on safety of trunk pipeline transport and field local distribution pipelines (the deadline for submitting a draft technical regulation to the RF Government is August 2006); on safety of the production, dressing and processing of mineral resources (the deadline for submitting a draft technical regulation to the RF Government is April 2006).

Under the Law, the developers of the technical regulations should use international rules and regulations as the basis. Thus, under the International Standardization Organization (ISO), there is Technical Committee 67, which produced about 90 standards for oil and gas equipment and production operations. The Committee is preparing to issue about another 45 draft standards. There also exist international standards for testing methods employed within the oil and gas complex. There are about 200 of these, 18% of which have been introduced in the Russian Federation.

The adoption of technical regulations will put paid to licensing individual types of operation.

The RF Government-drafted law On Amending the Federal Law on licensing of Individual Types of Operation has been passed in the first reading by the State Duma. This draft law abolishes licensing of the following operations in the oil and gas complex: operation of trunk pipeline transport; operation of gas networks; operation of oil and gas production facilities; operation of heat supply networks; refining of oil, gas and derivative products; and storage of oil, gas and derivative products.

The licensing procedure was recognized as being superfluous with respect to these types of operation, but the abolition of licensing does not mean abolition of regulation in general.

United efforts

The adoption by the Government in 2004 of the Technical Regulations Development Program does not complete the work on drawing up Russia's engineering law. Under Article 12 of the Law On Technical Regulation, the Program is to be updated every year. For this purpose, the Ministry, as the federal agency in charge of technical regulation, will continuously monitor the reform process and the monitoring results will constitute the basis for an annual report to the Government on the state of affairs in the technical regulation sphere. This report will contain proposals for adjusting the Program. Today, the Ministry has already sent out to the federal executive agencies concerned a special questionnaire and is awaiting their feedback.

It should be said that active work to create technical regulations is currently being carried out by various public and scientific organizations. Concerned parties have already drawn up about 50 draft technical regulations on their own initiative and more than 40 of them have undergone public review.

Aware of the importance of the proactive approach, the Ministry has decided to create a national program for the development of technical regulations. It will consist of two parts: a government program, financed out of the Federal budget, and independent initiative proposals. The Department of Technical Regulation and Metrology has sent out a request for proposal to various public and scientific organizations, and companies and institutions.

I would like to note that the development of technical regulations, no matter by whom, should be based on the findings of corresponding research into the impact that would be exerted on the state of the national economy by the mandatory requirements to be introduced. It has been established by law that a draft technical regulation should be submitted together with an economic feasibility study report. The calculations are necessary to ascertain the economic efficiency of each specific technical regulation. Submission of the full set of documents provided for under the law On Technical Regulation will constitute one of the criteria for the expert commission, set up by the federal agency for technical regulation, to be guided by when considering a technical regulation.

The Ministry is largely concerned with drafting a law on accreditation in the sphere of conformance assessment. Accreditation is a tool for mutual recognition of the results of conformance certification, which also promotes normal commodity exchange. Certification of conformance must take place only once, so that the economic entity does not need to incur costs twice - first on the domestic and then on the foreign market. It is important for the parties to both accept the results of conformance certification. A draft law has now been drawn up according to international standards, taking into account international accreditation practice and designed, on the one hand, to regulate activities in the mandatory sphere quite strictly, but on the other, also to provide complete freedom of action in the voluntary sphere.

It should be noted that technical regulation reform has far from economic aspects alone. It has a tremendous social effect that we are not, perhaps, fully aware of as yet. This reform constitutes a step away from legal nihilism. The process of drawing up technical regulations will bring together the authorities and the business community and, in order to draw up technical regulations, scattered businesses will join together in self-regulating organizations.

We are also seriously involved in various integration processes. The basis of technical regulation is also the basis of economic interrelations. For this reason, we take an active part in all integration processes within the framework of both the CIS and the EU. It should be noted that we and our colleagues in the integration processes are at one as far as the importance of agreements on technical regulation is concerned. We are working for the slogan OTrade without frontiersO to be realized, but we must also achieve full mutual understanding on the obligatory constraints that, at the same time, should not raise barriers to the economic activities in any country.




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Oil of Russia, No. 1, 2005
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