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International standards are standards developed by international standards organizations. International standards are available for consideration and use worldwide. One prominent organization is the International Organization for Standardization.
International standards may be used either by direct application or by a process of modifying an international standard to suit local conditions. The adoption of international standards results in the creation of equivalent, national standards that are substantially the same as international standards in technical content, but may have (i) editorial differences as to appearance, use of symbols and measurement units, substitution of a point for a comma as the decimal marker, and (ii) differences resulting from conflicts in governmental regulations or industry-specific requirements caused by fundamental climatic, geographical, technological, or infrastructural factors, or the stringency of safety requirements that a given standard authority considers appropriate.
International standards are one way of overcoming technical barriers in international commerce caused by differences among technical regulations and standards developed independently and separately by each nation, national standards organization, or company. Technical barriers arise when different groups come together, each with a large user base, doing some well established thing that between them is mutually incompatible. Establishing international standards is one way of preventing or overcoming this problem.
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