As international markets and competitiveness gain importance in the automobile industry, interest in the issue of standards harmonization is growing. Currently, the main efforts aimed at harmonizing standards are run through the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE). One major area of ongoing progress is safety standard harmonization.One main conflict affecting resolution of this issue is the fundamental difference in regulation administration between the United States, Europe, and Japan for safety standards. Of these regions, Europe and Japan follow type approval methods, while the United States adheres to self-certification. This difference bars the United States from participating in efforts to develop a globally accepted type approval system.Key policy alternatives presented are the continuation of U.S. support for current harmonization efforts, the worldwide acceptance of one set of already-existing regulations, and non-harmonization. Alternatives are evaluated on the basis of their effectiveness and efficiency with respect to U.S. interests.