(From SWEDAC's website)
A fundamental element of international cooperation is that countries should recognise each other's accreditations. Mutual recognition is effected through multilateral agreements (MLA). These agreements mean that the signatories accept the tests, calibrations, certifications or inspections performed by accredited bodies in the other countries of the agreement. Thus accreditation facilitates and is also a prerequisite for, recognition of each other's tests and assessments in various sectors, such as international trade.
The European co-operation for Accreditation (EA) provides a multilateral agreement between accreditation bodies, which means that most European bodies recognise each other's competence. In turn, EA enters into agreements with accreditation bodies or groups of accreditation bodies in other parts of the world.
Detailed information on how the international system for conformity assessment is structured within the framework of the World Trade Organisation is given in the publication 'An Overview of International Conformity Assessment Systems', published by SWEDAC (DOC 97:10). The document can be ordered via SWEDAC.
For information on the agreements concerning different areas: calibration, testing, certification of products, certification of personnel, certification of quality management systems and EMS, please use the links to the EA website:
- MLA on calibration
- MLA on testing
- MLA on certification of products
- MLA on certification of personnel
- MLA on certification of quality management systems
- MLA on certification of EMS
Agreements between the EU and third countries
Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) mean that a body in one country, such as Sweden, can perform the necessary tests and certify a product in accordance with the rules applicable in another country (e.g. the USA; Agreements are negotiated between the EC and countries outside the European Common Market), after which the product can be placed on the market in that second country without further testing or certification. Bodies in Sweden, performing such testing or inspection, are assessed by SWEDAC and referred to as Conformity Assessment Bodies.
Mutual Recognition Agreements between countries open the way to world markets for Swedish companies. Products for export markets can be approved 'at home'. There are already agreements between the EU countries and others such as Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada and Israel, while negotiations with Switzerland and Japan are in progress.
The agreements can be found on the following website. You can also find records of conformity assessment bodies in the EC and the third country in question.