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ISO Deputy Secretary-General Awarded Honorary Professorship After Supporting Contracts at Chinese University
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12 January, 2019 - 8:00 AM
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Image EnlargerNicolas Fleury, the current Deputy ISO Secretary-General and former Acting Secretary-General, received an “Honorary Professor” credential from Qingdao University in the People’s Republic of China during a 2018 conference in which ISO lent official recognition of a facility there. Fleury also attended another event at the University in 2017, in which ISO signed a number of unspecified contracts, raising the question as to whether Fleury’s honorary credential was granted as payment in kind for the deals.

In 2017 Fleury, alongside then-ISO President Zhang Xiaogang and current ISO President John Walter, reportedly announced official ISO recognition and support for a Qingdao University plan entitled, “Action Plan on the Collaboration with the International Standardization Training Base.” The plan reflected the University’s intent to have its “International Standardization Training Base” facility receive official recognition by ISO. At that same 2017 meeting, Chinese reports indicate that “five bilateral or multilateral contracts” were also signed.

Later, in March 2018, Fleury attended another event at Qingdao University, again to support the Training Base. At that conference, Fleury spoke on the subject of ISO’s copyrights. Immediately thereafter, Fleury’s LinkedIn profile was updated to indicate he was now an “Honorary Professor” at Qingdao University. It’s not clear under what field of study Nicolas Fleury’s “Honorary Professor” role was granted.

The revelation is yet another insight into influence peddling by China within ISO. Former President Zhang is the Vice President for Angang Steel, a company hit with punitive tariffs in 2016 by the European Union for “dumping” its products in the region. The US still contends that China is engaged in illegal subsidies provided to Angang Steel, in violation of WTO trade regulations.

ISO’s current President, John Walter, has a history of supporting Chinese industry, and his LinkedIn profile boasts that Walter “was appointed as an advisor to the China Standardization Expert Committee (CSEC) of the Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China (SAC).” In his prior role as ISO’s Vice President of Policy, Walter made at least one trip to China where Chinese media reported the meeting “reached extensive consensus” on matters related to China’s influence in standardization. Walter is the CEO of the Standards Council of Canada, that country’s accreditation body.  SCC’s announcement of Walter’s election to ISO President features a photo of Walter at the 2016 ISO General Assembly Meeting, the hosting of which was awarded to China.

In addition to the Beijing ISO General Assembly gathering, China hosted the official ISO TC 176 Plenary in 2015, in which ISO officials responsible for the ISO 9001 quality management system standard were feted with Chinese dragon dancers and free champagne. At that event were “risk-based thinking” architect Nigel Croft and current US TAG 176 Chair Paul Palmes.

In 2017, ISO Secretary-General Sergio Mujica visited China to meet with executives from Alibaba.

China is one of only 15 permanent members of the ISO Technical Management Board, which has begun to recently draft ISO standards in violation of ISO procedures and WTO regulations, which dictate that standards be developed instead by volunteer delegates and industry experts provided by ISO member nations. The TMB oversees all ISO technical committee activities, and can disband TCs if they refuse to follow TMB dictates.

Qingdao University is managed by the Chinese state, and while its English-language version of its official website lacks any mention of the controlling Communist Party, translations of the Chinese-language site show students are directly trained in “socialism” and “Communist party doctrine.”

ISO’s official magazine ISO Focus reported on the Fleury visit to Qingdao University, but did not mention his Honorary Professorship award. That report announced that the Qingdao University facility will host a “Forum on International Standardization” in 2019.

Mr. Fleury did not immediately reply to requests for comment on this article.



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