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Law & Order

For international cooperation within global trade to function effectively, it is essential that countries and trade partners trust each other's products and services. Therefore, various international agreements exist to promote free trade between countries.

There are many international agreements that include requirements for products and services that are imported into and marketed in various countries. These requirements often specifically target products and services that could be hazardous to life, health, and the environment. The requirements arise from sources such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), agreements the EU has with non-EU countries, or agreements between different accreditation bodies.

There are also regulations on how one can prove that products and services meet the stipulated requirements. Sometimes, there are requirements that the manufacturer assures that a product or service meets the relevant standards, known as a manufacturer’s declaration. In some contexts, an independent party’s assessment of a product is required, known as third-party assessment. Accreditation and certification are examples of such third-party assessments.

Agreements between the EU and countries outside the EU internal market aimed at mutual recognition are called Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs). These MRAs allow Swedish export companies to have products approved for export markets while still in Sweden. Agreements exist between the EU and Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada, Israel, Switzerland, and Japan. These agreements are available on the European Commission’s website, which also lists the designated bodies under each agreement.

Through EA, ILAC, and IAF, there are international agreements applicable among accreditation bodies. According to these agreements, testing, calibration, certification, inspection, validation, and verification conducted by an accredited body are also recognized in other countries. You can read more about these agreements under the section “International Agreements on Accreditation” on this page: How Accreditation Works.