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 46 of the 67 members of APAC are MRA signatories and are APAC Full Members.  As of September 2018, these 46 Full Members have accredited 50,422 laboratories, inspection bodies, reference material producers and proficiency testing providers, and 3,201 certification bodies and greenhouse gas (GHG) validation and verification bodies.  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 recognised 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 recognised regional cooperation by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), most APAC MRA signatories are also recognised 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 recognised 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:

ISO/IEC 17020 (inspection bodies)
ISO/IEC 17021-1 (management system certification bodies)
ISO/IEC 17024 (person certification bodies)
ISO/IEC 17025 (laboratories)
ISO/IEC 17043 (proficiency testing providers)
ISO/IEC 17065 (product certification bodies)
ISO/IEC 27006 (information security management certification bodies)
ISO 14065 (GHG validation and verification bodies)
ISO 15189 (medical laboratories)
ISO 17034 (reference materials producers)
ISO 50003 (energy management system certification bodies)
ISO TS 22003 (food safety management system certification

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:

  1. 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 organisation.
  2. 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.
  3. Recommending and promoting the acceptance by users of results issued by organisations accredited by other signatories in its economy of accredited conformity assessment