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Mutual Recognition Agreements for Conformity Assessment of Telecommunications Equipment

Mutual recognition agreements expedite international trade of telecommunications equipment


Mutual Recognition Agreements/Arrangements (MRAs) for conformity assessment are government-to-government agreements to facilitate trade of telecommunications equipment.  MRAs establish procedures enabling the Parties to recognize each other’s competent conformity assessment bodies (CABs - such as testing laboratories or certification bodies) and to accept the conformity assessment results of those CABs for regulatory purposes.

MRAs may cover:

  • Mutual recognition of testing laboratories and acceptance of test reports prepared by recognized testing laboratories (Phase I)
  • Mutual recognition of certification bodies and acceptance of certifications prepared by the recognized certification bodies (Phase II)

The scope of telecommunications equipment covered is based on the regulatory requirements of each MRA Party.

The technical requirements and regulations of the importing Party always apply.

Benefits of MRAs for Conformity Assessment

MRAs have many benefits.  MRAs may:

  • Reduce the time and cost of placing U.S. telecom products in foreign markets by eliminating the need for redundant testing and/or certification.  
  • Encourage communications and information sharing among key stakeholders, including manufacturers, testing laboratories, certification bodies, regulatory authorities, designating authorities, and accreditation bodies
  • Improve the transparency of foreign EMC and telecom regulations, laws, policies, and procedures, enabling U.S. manufacturers, testing laboratories, and certification bodies to more easily stay current on foreign regulatory requirements

NIST Role as Designating Authority

NIST serves as the U.S. Designating Authority for MRAs.  NIST is responsible for designating qualified U.S. CABs to our various MRA Partners. NIST receives, reviews and processes applications from CABs seeking recognition from our MRA Partners. The MRA Partner Regulatory Authorities formally recognize the CABs for their specific technical regulations/standards and/or certification requirements.  The recognized U.S. CABs can then help U.S. manufacturers with their testing and/or certification needs for specific economies.

NIST also provides technical assistance to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in negotiating and implementing MRAs. The USTR leads the negotiations and signs the Agreements.  The FCC, as the U.S. Telecom Regulatory Authority, regulates telecommunication equipment placed on the market in the U.S. and formally recognizes domestic and MRA Partner CABs that meet FCC requirements.

List of MRA Partners and the Designation Requirements for each Economy/MRA

Lists of U.S. CABS Recognized by MRA Partners

Accreditation Bodies

The competency of CABs is verified through formal accreditation.  Certain U.S. accreditation bodies   have been evaluated by NIST for use under the various MRAs.  To view the list of available U.S. ABs for MRA use, click here .

Current Agreements/Arrangement


To formally implement the APEC TEL MRA, the US signs binding exchange letters with the individual economies.  To date, exchange letters have been signed with Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam. Further information is available here

Additional Information on MRAs for Conformity Assessment 

Please contact NIST at mra [at] (mra[at]nist[dot]gov) if you have any further questions.




Created May 5, 2016, Updated September 26, 2023