APAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA)
One of the primary roles of APAC is to extend the APAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) and harmonise accreditation practices in the region. Currently 55 of the 66 members of APAC are MRA signatories and are APAC Full Members.
APAC Associate Members are not APAC MRA sigantories and the accreditation services that they provide are not recognised under the APAC MRA because Associate Members have not been peer evaluated.
As of September 2021, APAC Full Members have accredited:
- 62,507 conformity assessment bodies with the scopes of calibration and testing (ISO/IEC 17025), medical testing (ISO 15189), inspection (ISO/IEC 17020), reference materials (ISO 17034), proficiency testing (ISO/IEC 17043) and biobanking (ISO 20387); and
- 4,993 conformity assessment bodies with the scopes of product certification (ISO/IEC 17065), management system certification (ISO/IEC 17021-1), certification of persons (ISO/IEC 17024), and validation and verification (ISO/IEC 17029 and/or 14065).
The accredited conformity assessment results of these conformity assessment bodies are accepted across the Asia Pacific region, and internationally.
For an update to list of the APAC MRA signatories and their recognized accreditation scopes under the APAC MRA, please see APAC FGOV-011 Register of Members and Affiliates.
The APAC MRA is the combination of the previous APLAC MRA that was originally signed in 1997 and the PAC Multilateral Recognition Arrangement signed in 1998.
Signatories of the APAC MRA are APAC Full Members. Because APAC is a recognized regional cooperation by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), most APAC MRA signatories are also recognized under the international IAF Multilateral Arrangement (MLA) and ILAC MRA. This extends the mutual recognition of accredited conformity assessment results beyond the Asia Pacific to encompass most parts of the world.
The APAC MRA forms a regional network of conformity assessment bodies (e.g. laboratories, inspection bodies, certification bodies etc.) which are accredited by accreditation bodies that have been peer-evaluated and recognized as being competent by their peers in other economies. This network facilitates the acceptance of conformity assessment results across the region, thus contributing to the facilitation of trade and the free-trade goal of “tested/inspected/certified once, accepted everywhere”.
The APAC MRA is based on the results of an intensive evaluation of each accreditation body done in accordance with procedures detailed in the relevant APAC publications. Each APAC MRA signatory has demonstrated conformity with the international standard for accreditation bodies, ISO/IEC 17011, and its accredited facilities are in conformity with one or more of the following conformity assessment body standards:
- Biobanking ISO 20387
- Calibration ISO/IEC 17025
- Certification – Management systems ISO/IEC 17021-1
- Anti-bribery management systems (ABMS)
- Business continuity management systems (BCMS)
- Energy management systems (EnMS)
- Environmental management systems (EMS)
- Feed additives and premixtures quality system (FAMI-QS)
- Food safety management systems (FSMS)
- Food Safety system Certification 22000 (FSSC 22000)
- Information security management systems (ISMS)
- Medical device quality management systems (MDQMS)
- Occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS)
- Quality management systems (QMS)
- Certification – Persons ISO/IEC 17024
- IPC Management System Auditors
- Certification – Products, processes and services ISO/IEC 17065
- Inspection ISO/IEC 17020
- Medical testing ISO 15189
- Proficiency testing ISO/IEC 17043
- Reference materials production ISO/IEC 17034
- Testing ISO/IEC 17025
- Validation and verification ISO/IEC 17029
- Environmental information ISO 14065:2020
- Validation and verificiation – Greenhouse gases ISO 14065:2013
A re-evaluation of each APAC MRA signatory is done at a maximum of 4-yearly intervals by a team of trained APAC peer-evaluators.
Obligations of APAC MRA signatories include:
- Recognition, within its own scope of recognition the accreditation of a conformity assessment body by other signatories as being equivalent to an accreditation by its own organization.
- Acceptance, for its own purposes, of conformity assessment results that come from conformity assessment bodies accredited by other signatories on the same basis as it accepts conformity assessment results issued by its own accredited conformity assessment bodies.
- Recommending and promoting the acceptance by users of results issued by organizations accredited by other signatories in its economy of accredited conformity assessment