The aim of a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) is to promote trade liberalisation and economic cooperation with co-signatories to the arrangement. Australia has technical MRAs with numerous countries.
These MRAs enable conformity assessment (testing, inspection and certification) of specified products intended for export to the other party's territory to be undertaken in the country of export. This has the effect of reducing non-tariff (technical and regulatory) barriers to trade between the countries.
Regulatory authorities in both countries recognise test reports and certificates issued by Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs)—bodies deemed by both countries competent to assess products as conforming to the standards of the other country—to demonstrate that products meet their domestic regulatory requirements.
Benefits of MRAs
- Opportunity to test and certify products a single time to the requirements of multiple markets.
- Increased certification efficiency for products exported to foreign markets, which increases export opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises.
- Decreased time-to-market for companies manufacturing telecommunications equipment with increasingly short product life cycles, which maximises export opportunities and allows rapid reinvestment in research and development for next-generation technologies.
For conformity assessment bodies
- CABs are able to increase the value of their service by offering their clients a substantially wider portfolio, including testing and certifying products for multiple markets.
- Fewer regulatory resources required.
- Potential stepping stone towards further harmonisation of technical requirements and of regional and national conformity assessment systems.
- Access to a pool of knowledge about the latest global trends and experiences.
- Access to a wider variety of technology.
- Faster access to equipment at lower cost.
- Faster development of telecommunications and internet infrastructure.
MRAs to which Australia is a signatory that relate to the ACMA
APECTEL MRA: The Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation Telecommunications Working Group Mutual Recognition Arrangement (APECTEL MRA) is a multilateral agreement between Asia–Pacific economies that provides for mutual recognition of conformity assessment, and testing and equipment certification procedures for telecommunications equipment. The purpose of the APECTEL MRA is to promote trade liberalisation and economic cooperation with co-signatories of these arrangements.
TTMRA: 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.
EC-MRA: The European Community Mutual Recognition Agreement (EC-MRA) allows for CABs in Australia to undertake conformity assessment against European standards and European CABs to test against Australian standards. The purpose of the EC-MRA is to facilitate trade liberalisation between Australia and the European Community.
EFTA-MRA: The European Economic Area (EEA) European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway MRA (EFTA MRA) extends the application of the EC MRA to all countries that form the EEA. The purpose of the EFTA MRA is to offer manufacturers the ability to have their product assessed for compliance with the regulatory requirements of the EC, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, by an Australian laboratory (CAB).
Singapore-MRA: The Australia–Singapore Mutual Recognition Agreement on Conformity Assessment (Singapore MRA promotes trade liberalisation and economic cooperation between Singapore and Australia.
Chinese Taipei EME MRA: The Chinese Taipei EME MRA is a bilateral electromagnetic energy MRA between the Australian Commerce and Industry Office (ACIO) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) that delivers benefits to Australian exporters supplying to the Chinese Taipei market. The purpose of the Chinese Taipei EME MRA is to allow products either manufactured or tested in Australia with a test report issued by an Australian NATA-accredited test laboratory to enter the Chinese Taipei market without further testing to Chinese Taipei regulations.