European Community-Australia Mutual Recognition Agreement

The European Community-Australia Mutual Recognition Agreement (EC-MRA) is a binding Treaty between the Governments of Australia and the European Community (the Parties).

Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) enable conformity assessment (testing, inspection and certification) of products and of manufacturers of products intended for export to the other Party's territory to be undertaken in the country of export, thereby reducing non-tariff (technical and regulatory) barriers to trade between the Parties. Both Parties' regulatory authorities recognise test reports and certificates issued by Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) deemed by both Parties to be competent to assess products as conforming to the standards of the other Party to demonstrate that products meet their domestic regulatory requirements.

The MRA does not require harmonisation of each Party's technical regulations, nor does it involve recognition of the standards that apply in each Party.  In this way, each Party maintains its own internal standards and regulatory regimes against which compliance is assessed by designated CABs located in the other Party.

What is covered by the EC-MRA?

Because it is a government-to-government Agreement, its scope is limited to products which are subject to regulation by government authorities and which involve some form of mandatory third party intervention (conformity assessment) prior to the product being able to be placed on the market. See EC-MRA Frequently asked Questions.

The EC-MRA covers the following sectors:

  • automotive products
  • electromagnetic compatibility (EMC)
  • low voltage electrical equipment
  • telecommunications terminal equipment 
  • machinery
  • medical devices
  • pharmaceuticals - Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)
  • pressure equipment

Good Manufacturing Practice refers to principles and specifications of good manufacturing processes to which manufacturers must comply, resulting in safe and reliable products for consumers.

How the EC-MRA works

The EC-MRA facilitates trade by allowing conformity assessment (testing, inspection and certification) of products traded between Europe and Australia to be undertaken in the Party of export rather than having to be undertaken at destination.

In the case of Australian exporters, this means compliance with the requirements of the relevant EC Directives (or regulations) can be established in Australia, and the CE marking applied to the product, prior to export.  In this way, products can be placed on the EC market without further intervention by EC authorities.

The MRA takes the form of an over-arching Agreement which sets out the broad rights and obligations of the Parties and establishes the administrative mechanisms for implementation of the Agreement. Through an Annex, it also establishes the principles of technical competence and systems under which CABs may be designated for the purposes of the MRA.

The MRA also contains a series of Sectoral Annexes which outline the product scope or coverage of the Agreement, define more precisely the requirements for designation and set out any additional provisions relating to the operation of the MRA.

The essence of an MRA of this nature is the confidence that each Party is able to maintain in the technical competence of the CABs designated under the Agreement.  This confidence is established through the designation systems that are used to appoint CABs under each of the Sectoral Annexes.

The MRA provides for regulatory authorities of both Parties to maintain market surveillance programs to ensure that products continue to meet legal health and safety requirements.  There are provisions in the MRA for challenging the competence of particular CABs, based on the outcomes of such market surveillance activities, and for such bodies to be suspended until their competence is re-established to the satisfaction of both Parties.  In this way, the integrity of regulatory regimes and the health and safety of people and the environment in both Australia and the EU is protected.

Amending Agreement to the MRA

An Amending Agreement to the MRA was signed on 23 February 2012 and came into force on 1 January 2013.

Share this Page