EEA EFTA States and US expand the scope of the MRA on Marine Equipment

Published 25-02-2019
On 22 February, the EEA EFTA States and the US signed a Joint Committee Decision expanding the scope of the Parties’ Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) applicable to marine equipment.

Specifically, the MRA now applies to eight new, important categories of marine equipment. A consolidated version of the agreement is available here, with the product scope listed under Annex II.

Protocol 12 to the EEA Agreement provides 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”. Through this system of parallel trade agreements, third countries are granted simplified market access throughout the EEA for the sectors covered and vice versa. An identical Decision was concluded between the EU and the US, on 18 February, only days before that of the EEA EFTA States and the US.

Specifically, MRAs promote trade in goods by reducing the need for additional testing of export goods: the Parties agree to mutually recognise and accept the test results of each other’s conformity assessment bodies (CABs). Conformity assessment is the process by which products are measured against the various technical, safety and quality standards that governments impose on products. MRAs allow an exporting country’s CAB to use the tests and standards of the importing country in evaluating products, thereby reducing the number of CABs that must evaluate a product destined for multiple markets. Concretely, this means that a CAB located in an EEA EFTA State may assess a product’s compliance not only with the local, national requirements but also with the US requirements thereby avoiding the need for costly and time-consuming duplication of testing.

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