What is the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement?
The Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement (TTMRA) forms part of the Closer Economic Relations Treaty between Australia and New Zealand. The purpose of the TTMRA is to implement mutual recognition principles relating to the sale of goods and the registration of occupations. In contrast to other MRAs, the TTMRA focuses on harmonising product and service standards (rather than conformity assessment) between Australia and New Zealand.
Its objective is to eliminate regulatory barriers to the movement of goods and service providers between Australia and New Zealand, promoting trade between the two countries. The TTMRA was signed by the Commonwealth and the States of Australia on 14 June 1996 and by New Zealand on 9 July 1996. The TTMRA came into force on 1 May 1998.
The TTMRA and ACMA
The responsibilities of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and of the Ministry of Economic Development in New Zealand (MED) include electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and radiocommunications equipment (RC) matters in their respective countries. Under the TTMRA the EMC regulatory arrangements between Australia and New Zealand are harmonised.
A permanent exemption from the TTMRA applies to radiocommunications equipment. However, compliance with technical standards and labelling requirements for a small number of specified radiocommunication devices are harmonised via an agreement between the ACMA and the MED. The harmonised devices fall under specified radiocommunications standards that have been jointly selected by the ACMA and MED NZ.
Information on which radiocommunication device standards are harmonised is available.
Objectives of the TTMRA
Australia and New Zealand mandate EMC standards to protect the public interest in use of the radio spectrum resource. Over a number of years ACMA and the MED have cooperated to develop harmonised schemes. The objective of this cooperative approach is to:
- reduce regulatory barriers to trade
- simplify compliance requirements
- lower business compliance costs
Based on these objectives, agreement has been reached on a compliance framework with the following features:
- harmonised mandatory standards
- seamless trans-Tasman supplier registration
- recognition of product labelling regardless of whether the product is labelled in Australia or New Zealand
- compliance documentation to be held in either Australia or New Zealand
- comparable audit and enforcement procedures across the two jurisdictions so that neither nation becomes a favoured market for the initial supply of goods
- comparable penalty provisions for non-compliance