The U.S. should export its safety standards to the world market, suggests Ricardo Martinez, the new head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). "U.S. standards are a good product in the global market because NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) and GATT (General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade) have begun to open new markets, including emerging ones," he says. "New industries are springing up around the Pacific Rim, in Europe and South America. What standards will the governments of these markets impose? They could try to duplicate 30 years of U.S. research and exhaustive debate on their own, or they could adopt standards from off the shelf in the United States." That's "an interesting plan," says G. Richard Wagoner Jr., president of GM-NAO. Global safety standards would make it easier for automakers to ship their cars worldwide, and open the door for technology transfers and a more global marketing plan. NHTSA has taken the first step. A new standard for passenger-car brake safety will be published in the National Register in the next month or so. It minimizes the difference between U.S. and European standards and, after a five-year phase-in, replaces the current standard for passenger cars.