Stands for "American National Standards Institute." ANSI's primary goal is to enhance the global competitiveness of U.S. businesses and to improve the American quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems.
"Voluntary" standards are driven by marketplace needs rather than regulated by the government. "Conformity assessment systems" test the compliance of a product or service to a standard. ANSI does not itself develop standards or conduct tests, rather it facilitates this work by "accrediting" (i.e., recognizing) qualified groups with appropriate expertise. The Institute is the official U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). ANSI is a private, nonprofit membership organization with offices in Washington, DC and New York City.