The IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) is a worldwide organisation for standardisation comprising all national electrotechnical committees (IEC National Committees).
The purpose of the IEC is to promote international cooperation on all questions concerning standardisation in the electrical and electronic fields. To that end, the IEC publishes International Standards. Their preparation is entrusted to technical committees and any IEC National Committee interested in the subject dealt with may participate in the preparatory work.
Any country may use the IEC standards.
- Within countries without a standardisation system (and possibly not a member of the IEC), any customer or manufacturer may refer to an IEC standard in its General Sales Conditions or as a part of the specifications of a project,
- Countries with a standardisation system can incorporate the IEC standards as national standards, with or without modifications.
- The CENELEC, the European standardisation organisation generally adopts the IEC standards as European standards, which enforces them as National standards in all European countries
- on the contrary some countries, such as the USA, continue to develop their own standardisation system
The regulations in a given country may make certain standards legally binding and may also create additional safety requirements.