Mutual Recognition Agreements

The European Economic Area (EEA) unites the 28 EU Member States with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (the three EEA EFTA States) into a Single Market governed by the same basic rules. These rules ensure that all 31 EEA States - and their economic operators - are subject to the same rights and obligations: a product placed on the market (approximately 500 million consumers) in accordance with harmonised technical requirements, circulates freely throughout the EEA.

Protocol 12 of the EEA Agreement ensures the smooth functioning and homogeneity of the EEA market. The Protocol guarantees that when the EU takes the initiative to negotiate Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs), it will negotiate on the basis that the third countries concerned will conclude parallel MRAs with the EEA EFTA States, equivalent to those to be concluded by the EU [box 1]. Through this system of parallel agreements, third countries are granted simplified market access throughout the EEA for the sectors covered, and vice-versa [box 2].

The extension of the EU’s MRA to the three EEA EFTA States often means easy undertaking for the third country concerned, immediately increasing the size of the potential market from EU28 to EEA31.

Mutual Recognition Agreements are covered by Protocol 12 to the EEA Agreement.

 EEA Agreement Protocol 12 on Conformity Assessment Agreements with Third Countries

Mutual Recognition Agreements with third countries concerning conformity assessment for products where the use of a mark is provided for in EU legislation will be negotiated on the initiative of the EU. The EU will negotiate on the basis that the third countries concerned will conclude with the EEA EFTA States parallel MRAs equivalent to those to be concluded with the EU. The EEA States shall cooperate in accordance with the general information and consultation procedures set out in the EEA Agreement. If a difference arises in relations with third countries, it will be dealt with in accordance with the relevant provisions of the EEA Agreement. 

MRAs established by the EFTA countries

EEA EFTA - New Zealand MRA (based on Protocol 12)

Agreement on mutual recognition in relation to conformity assessment, certificates and markings between New Zealand and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (Entry into force: 1 March 2000). Sectors covered: Pharmaceuticals (good manufacturing practices, GMP), medical devices, telecommunications terminal equipment, low voltage equipment, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), machinery, and pressure equipment.

EEA EFTA – Australia MRA (based on Protocol 12)

Agreement on mutual recognition in relation to conformity assessment, certificates and markings between Australia and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (Entry into force: 1 July 2000). Sectors covered: Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), pharmaceuticals (good manufacturing practice, GMP), medical devices, telecommunications terminal equipment, automotive product, pressure equipment, machinery, and low voltage equipment.

EEA EFTA – Canada MRA (based on Protocol 12)

Agreement on mutual recognition in relation to conformity assessment, certificates and markings between Canada and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (Entry into force: 1 January 2001). Sectors covered: Telecommunications terminal equipment, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), electrical safety, recreational craft, pharmaceuticals (good manufacturing practices, GMP), and medical devices.

EEA EFTA - Switzerland MRA (linked to the EFTA Convention)

Annex I to the EFTA Convention (Entry into force: 1 June 2002). Sectors covered: Machinery, personal protective equipment (PPE), safety of toys, medical devices, gas appliances and boilers, pressure equipment, telecommunications terminal equipment, equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmosphere (ATEX), electrical safety and electromagnetic compatibility, construction plant and equipment, measuring instruments and pre-packages, motor vehicles, agricultural and forestry tractors, good laboratory practice (GLP), good manufacturing practice (GMP) inspection and batch certification, construction products, lifts, biocidal products, cableway installations, and explosives for civil use.

EEA EFTA - USA MRAs

Sectors covered: 
First Agreement: Marine equipment 
Second Agreement: Telecommunications equipment, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), recreational crafts
(Entry into force: 1 March 2006)

Protocol E of the EFTA-Turkey Free Trade Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Conformity Assessment of Products

Agreement on mutual recognition of conformity assessment of products between Turkey and EFTA (Entry into force: 5 July 2011). Protocol E to the EFTA-Turkey Free Trade Agreement covers all harmonised product sectors in trade between the EEA EFTA States and Turkey. Regarding trade between Turkey and Switzerland, this Protocol applies to the sectors that are covered by the EU-Swiss MRA where the respective legislation under this agreement is deemed equivalent. An overview of sectors covered, as well as links to relevant Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs), can be found here.

 

 

 

 
 
Officer
Goods Division

+32 22861 744