Differences in the regulatory requirements of individual countries are widely recognised as potential barriers to trade. One common barrier is the requirement that Australian companies have their products tested and certified in an importing country for compliance with that country's regulatory requirements. This generally entails testing by bodies in the country of import, resulting in increased costs and time taken to enter the market.
Mutual Recognition Agreements on Conformity Assessment (MRAs) can help facilitate trade by enabling Australian manufacturers to have certain products tested and certified by Conformity Assessment Bodies in Australia for compliance with the regulatory requirements of the importing country. By eliminating the time delays and costs associated with obtaining regulatory approval in the importing country, MRAs can potentially benefit Australian business.
Australia has a number of bilateral MRAs. The European Community-Australia Mutual Recognition Agreement on Conformity Assessment (EC-MRA) was the first fully operational MRA of its type in the world. Australia also has functioning MRAs with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein (EFTA-MRA) and Singapore (Singapore-MRA), while the non-treaty Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement (TTMRA) facilitates trade with New Zealand.
Australia is also a signatory to the APEC Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Conformity Assessment of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (APEC Electrical MRA) [PDF 430KB], which was developed by the APEC Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance. The aim of the APEC Electrical MRA, together with a similar Arrangement on Conformity Assessment of Telecommunications Equipment (APEC Tel MRA) is increased trade facilitation in the APEC region.