In the present, ema has the recognition of three regional and two international organizations. These recognitions have different scopes for different Conformity Assessment Bodies:
Due to the amount of international trade which takes place in Mexico and the world, and to the need proving technical and operational competence, these international recognitions are important to ema. But, what are these recognitions? And, why are they important?
MUTUAL AND MULTILATERAL RECOGNITION AGREEMENTS
Multilateral Recognition Agreement (MLA) and Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA), are agreements that guarantee that the signatories to the MLA or MRA, operate in an equivalent manner, applying the same standards and regulations.
Therefore, the MRA/MLA recognizes the equivalency of the accreditation programs of the signatory members, and the equivalency of activities the accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies carry out.
MRA’s and MLA’s main objective is to reduce the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). The agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade from the World Trade Organization “urges the Members to accept, by the other Member´s request, to negotiate mutual recognition agreements for the results of their respective procedures in Conformity Assessment”. This leads to “mutually satisfying” results, due to the possibilities for the easier trade of the product.
In the present, different legislation in different countries and other considerations don’t always make it possible to accept in one country the results from an MRA accredited Conformity Assessment Body from other countries. Nevertheless, there are places like Australia, New Zealand and most European countries, where the services and products from an MRA/MLA accredited certification body are easily accepted, with few or none technical barriers.
Today, the number of countries that are MRA/MLA signatories is over 70 within all regional and international organizations. Mexico’s Accreditation System can be compared to other members who have signed multilateral agreements, such as the United States, Canada, France, Brazil, Argentina, China, Japan, among others.
It is important to stress the fact that ema’s international recognition offers Mexican Trade an opportunity for the country’s products and services to have an endorsement that is recognized in the world’s market.
MRA BENEFITS. SUCCESSFUL CASES IN OTHER COUNTRIES
POSCO (Pohang Iron and Steel Company), is a factory enterprise in South Korea and it is the world’s third steel producer. Since accrediting its laboratory in 2000 with the Korean accreditation body (KOLAS), POSCO has gained more market access.
In 2004, a Mexican producer for automobile parts became interested in buying steel from POSCO, and needed proof on the reliability of the Korean enterprise’s steel. The Mexican producer made the purchase knowing that the steel was tested in a KOLAS accredited laboratory.
That same year, there was a similar case concerning a steel buyer from India that accepted the results from POSCO’s accredited laboratory. Hence, the steel tested by POSCO’s laboratory didn’t need further testing in India, and this resulted in considerable money saving.
KOLAS accreditation has been of great benefit for the Korean factory, and even more so, because this Accreditation Body is an MRA signatory and also an ILAC member. POSCO estimates that the MRA has provided the enterprise with about 5 million dollars in economical benefits (2004).
The New Zealand case
All electric products have to fulfill CEM regulations (electromagnetic compatibility) before entering New Zealand’s market. Nevertheless, New Zealand accepts reports from testing laboratories that are accredited by the country’s accreditation body (IANZ), or that are accredited by signatories to ILAC’s MRA. IANZ frequently receives questions from electrical product manufacturers from USA, Germany or Hong Kong who need to know which laboratories to use to test the production. IANZ’s answer is that if the tests were made by accredited laboratories A2LA (USA), DAR (Germany) or HKAS (Hong Kong), they don’t need further testing in New Zealand. Reports from these Accreditation Bodies are accepted by IANZ thanks to the MRA.