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Introduction

The purpose of an MRA for Conformity Assessment of Telecommunications Equipment is to facilitate trade by allowing Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) in one country to test and/or certify products to the technical standards of another country.   For APEC and CITEL countries participation is voluntary; however, if a country agrees to participate certain rights and obligations apply.  Once an MRA for Conformity Assessment of Telecommunications Equipment is in place the United States implements the MRA by exchanging letters with the participating country, which identify the responsible parties and their obligations.  The exchange letters also identify the scope (acceptance of test reports and/or equipment approval) of the MRA.


General Requirements to implement MRA
  1. A government-to-government MRA for conformity assessment of telecommunications equipment must be in place.
  2. The governments of the participating countries must agree on the scope (acceptance of test reports and/or equipment approval) of the agreement.
  3. The responsible parties in each country must be willing to participate and have the regulations in place which give them the proper authority to implement their obligations.
  4. A participating country must use an accrediting body that is compliant with or equivalent to ISO/IEC 17011 – “Conformity Assessment – General requirements for accrediting bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies.” 
  5. The governments of participating country must exchange letters detailing the process.  The text of the letters is typically negotiated between the foreign country and on the U.S. side: the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the FCC.  The letters include the following information:
    1. List of Designating Authorities.
    2. List of Accreditation Bodies.
    3. The regulator(s) and technical Regulations for which test reports and/or equipment approvals from other Parties will be accepted.
    4. The responsible contact person(s) for this Agreement.
  6. Information is exchanged between the stakeholders in the participating countries regarding their processes and procedures to ensure that all parties understand each other’s processes in order to ensure marketed equipment is compliant with all applicable regulations.  The information exchanged should include the following:
    1. Identify sources for obtaining technical regulations.
    2. Identify any items to be addressed during the accreditation assessment. For example, the FCC checklists.
    3. Training for CABs and Accreditation Body assessors on the technical regulations.

General Requirements for FCC Recognition of Accredited Testing Laboratories

Procedure for the FCC recognition of Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) as accredited testing laboratories:

  1. The FCC or an FCC recognized Designating Authority (DA) shall determine which accreditation bodies meet ISO/IEC 17011 and are qualified to accredit CABs within their territory to perform testing to the FCC requirements.
  2. The testing laboratory shall be accredited to ISO/IEC 17025-2005 with a scope covering the applicable FCC requirements and test procedures.
  3. The FCC has developed the Accredited Test Laboratory Technical Assessment Evaluation checklist to be used by the accreditation body to aid in the assessment of testing laboratories. The checklist may be accessed at www.fcc.gov/labhelp KDB publication 853844
  4. Requests for designation should be submitted to the DA, in the laboratory’s own country, requesting the CAB be designated to the FCC for recognition by the FCC as an accredited testing laboratory. Note that for CABs in the US, the recognized accreditation body designates the CAB directly to the FCC.
  5. The DA reviews the accreditation information and makes a determination as to whether the CAB meets the requirements for designation.
  6. Once the DA determines that the requirements have been met it designates the CAB to the FCC by providing the information listed below for review and recognition by the FCC.
  7. When reviewing a request to recognize a testing laboratory the FCC will:
    1. Evaluate the information submitted regarding the CAB.
    2. Make a determination on whether to recognize the CAB.
    3. Notify the designating authority of the recognition of the CAB
  8. When reviewing a request to recognize a testing laboratory the FCC Staff will look for the following information:
    1. Procedure used by DA to designate the CAB.
    2. Name, location, mailing and contact information.  The CAB shall be physically located in the country from which it is being designated.
    3. Designation number and FCC Registration Number (FRN).
    4. An indication as to whether the test laboratory performs testing for other entities.
    5. ISO/IEC 17025 Certificate of Accreditation.  In cases where the accrediting body does not issue a certificate, equivalent information must be provided.
    6. The FCC rule sections the accreditation applies to.
    7. The FCC test procedures the accreditation applies to.  A list of test procedures may be found at: http://www.fcc.gov/oet/ea/eameasurements.html
    8. The expiration date and period of the accreditation.  The FCC rules require that a testing laboratory must be re-evaluated by the accreditation body at least every two years.
    9. Completed Accredited Laboratory FCC Technical Assessment Evaluation checklist.  For the designation of a newly accredited testing laboratory a completed checklist shall be provided.  For a renewal of the designation of an accredited testing laboratory a statement indicating continued compliance with a previously submitted checklist is acceptable.
    10. Compliance with Accredited Testing Laboratory Roles and Responsibilities.
  9. For the renewal of the recognition of an accredited testing laboratory, the FCC database expiration date shall be updated by the DA.
  10. The FCC required information may only be submitted by the DA and should not be submitted directly to the FCC from the CAB.  The DA shall submit the information by completing fields on the designation web page and uploading any required attachments.

Note:  Information provided in support of the designation of an accredited testing laboratory is publicly available on the FCC webpage.


General Requirements for Recognition of Certification Bodies

For accreditation of Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) as Certification bodies to approve equipment:

  1. In the United States CABs that are accredited to authorize equipment are known as Telecommunication Certification Bodies (TCBs).
  2. The accreditation body in the exporting party shall accredit the TCB to authorize equipment with regard to the importing party regulations.
  3. TCBs are accredited to ISO/IEC Guide 65 and ISO/IEC 17025.
  4. The FCC has developed a TCB Program ISO/IEC Guide 65 Technical Assessment Form to be used by the accreditation body to aid in the assessment of TCBs. 
  5. When the accreditation has been completed and it is determined the TCB is compliant, an application should be submitted to the DA in the TCBs own country requesting the TCB be designated to the FCC.
  6. The DA reviews the accreditation information and makes a determination as to whether the TCB meets the requirements for designation.
  7. If the requirements are met the DA notifies the FCC.
  8. The notification shall include all of the information required by the FCC for review and recognition by the FCC. 
  9. When reviewing a request for designation of a TCB the FCC will:
    1. Evaluate the information submitted regarding the TCB.
    2. Make a determination on whether to recognize the TCB.
    3. Notify the DA of the recognition of the TCB
  10. When reviewing a request for designation of a TCB the FCC will look for the following information:
    1. Procedure used by DA to designate the TCB.
    2. Name, location, mailing and contact information.  The TCB shall be located in the country from which is it being designated.
    3. Designation number and FCC Registration Number (FRN).
    4. The scope of the accreditation.
    5. The Certificate of Accreditation.  In cases where the accrediting body does not issue a certificate, equivalent information must be provided.
    6. The FCC rule sections the accreditation applies to.
    7. The FCC test procedures the accreditation applies to.  A list of test procedures may be found at: http://www.fcc.gov/oet/ea/eameasurements.html
    8. The expiration date and period of the accreditation. 
    9. Compliance with ISO/IEC 17025. A TCB must have an accredited test firm associated with it, which is recognized in the FCC accredited test firm database.
    10. Compliance with ISO/IEC Guide 65.
    11. Compliance with FCC Rules, Sections 2.960, 2.962, 68.160, and 68.162, and Public Notice DA 99-1640.
    12. Compliance with TCB Roles and Responsibilities.
    13. Compliance with the TCB Program ISO/IEC Guide 65 Technical Assessment Form.  For new TCBs the submission of a completed evaluation form or a statement from the accrediting body that the TCB fully complies is required.
    14. An indication that the TCB staff has successfully completed the appropriate TCB training with regard to their designation.  This is provided via a key employee list (KEL) showing: decision makers, EMC reviewers, administrative contacts, general RF exposure reviewers, and SAR qualified reviewers
  11. The FCC required information may only be submitted by the DA and should not be submitted to the FCC by the TCB.  The DA shall submit the information by completing a web page and uploading relevant information to the FCC web site.

MRA Stakeholders in the United States

In the United States the Regulatory Authority, Designating Authority and Accrediting Bodies are all different entities.  The Regulatory Authority and Designating Authority typically work with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to implement MRAs.  The USTR is the U.S. entity that typically signs the exchange letters.  Once the MRA becomes operational, the regulatory and designating authorities handle most of the issues.
Regulatory Authority (RA)

  • FCC – Responsible for technical requirements and recognition of CABs.

Designating Authority (DA) - Responsible for Designation of CABs

Accreditation Bodies

  • Responsible for determining CAB competence:
  • The accreditation bodies for testing laboratories are referred to as Test Firm Accrediting Bodies (TFABs):
    • The TFABs for CABs located in the U.S. are:
      • A2LA-American Association for Laboratory Accreditation
      • ACLASS - ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board/ACLASS
      • L-A-B - Laboratory Accreditation Bureau
      • NVLAP – National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program.
    • The TFABs for CABs located outside the U.S. can be found by contacting the designating authority in the CABs economy.  A list of DA’s may be found at: https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/mra/reports/AccreditingBodyReport.cfm
  • The Accreditation Bodies for CABs that can approve equipment are:

Conformity Assessment Bodies


New CAB recognitions in countries with which the U.S. has an MRA

For a CAB in a country with which the U.S. has an MRA for Conformity Assessment of Telecommunications Equipment the process to be recognized is:

  • Determine the scope of recognition (i.e. Testing laboratory or TCB).
  • Contact the DA in the CABs country to determine the DA’s procedures.  See the stakeholders section above for DA’s contact information.
  • Contact the Accrediting Body and complete accreditation.
  • Submit the completed accreditation and other required information to the designating authority with a request to be recognized by the FCC.  Be sure to follow the procedures required by the designating authority.
  • The Designating Authority (DA) will review the submitted information and if they determine the CAB is acceptable to be designated, the DA will submit the information to the FCC.  CABs should not submit information directly to the FCC. 
  • Once the FCC reviews the information submitted and is confident that the CAB is competent, the FCC will recognize the CAB and it will appear on the FCC Website at the appropriate link defined in the stakeholder section above.

New CAB recognitions in countries with which the U.S. does not have an MRA

For a CAB in a country with which the U.S. does not have an MRA for Conformity Assessment of Telecommunications Equipment, the FCC does not recognize a CAB from that country.  A CAB in one of these countries should contact the Regulatory Authority in their own country to express their interest in an MRA.


Supporting documents/information and web sites


last reviewed/updated 1/31/14


If you have questions about this web page, or would like more information pertaining to OET, please send e-mail to oetinfo@fcc.gov

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