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The Commonwealth Standards Network (CSN) Explained

Learn more about what the Commonwealth Standards Network is, why it was created, and how it works.

What is the Commonwealth Standards Network?

The Commonwealth Standards Network (CSN) is a collaborative non-profit network that connects Commonwealth states.

The purpose of the Commonwealth Standards Network

The CSN aims to increase its members technical and institutional capacity to use and participate in the development of international standards via existing international standards organisations such as ISO and IEC.

International standards play an important role in promoting productivity and efficiency, reducing costs, removing barriers to trade, and driving economic growth. As such, the CSN is especially relevant to National Standards Bodies (NSBs) from Commonwealth nations that are looking to boost their international trade capabilities.

The “Commonwealth Advantage”

Trading relationships between Commonwealth member states, on average, cost 21% less than trade with non-members.

This feature, along with associated other benefits related to investment and job creation, is known as the “Commonwealth Advantage”.

Intra-Commonwealth trade surpassed US$670 billion in 2019, making up around 18% of members’ global exports. Commonwealth countries tend to trade an average of 20% more and generate 10% more investment with each other than with non-member countries.

Governments of Commonwealth members have also firmly committed to growing this figure, with a target to grow intra-Commonwealth trade to US$2 trillion by 2030.

How the Commonwealth Standards Network works

The CSN consists of the following interlinked components which are designed to provide comprehensive support for the introduction and dissemination of technical standards:

Platform: The CSN online platform encourages collaboration between National Standards Bodies (NSBs) throughout the Commonwealth, supporting information exchange and peer-to-peer learning and support.

Written resources: Guide documents, toolkits, and case studies to help NSBs and Public and Private sector stakeholders understand the value of using international standards, get involved in their development, and to use them to support trade and development.

Education and training: In-country training and workshops are delivered within Commonwealth countries, focused on raising awareness of the benefits and use of international standards and empowering countries to take a more active role in standards development.

Technical assistance: A number of developing countries within the Commonwealth have received technical assistance to support domestic standards development, use international standards effectively for trade, and be empowered to take an active role in standards development.