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Mutual Recognition Agreements

Mutual Recognition Agreements (or arrangements) (MRAs) are government-to-government trade facilitating measures aimed at a global approach to conformity assessment. (These agreements should not be confused with the Mutual Recognition Arrangements between accrediting organizations.) The government-to-government agreements can be multi-sector, as in the U.S.-EU MRA, covering more than one group of products. The agreements can also be multi-lateral, as in the APEC MRA, providing a guideline for all member economies (countries) to follow. In each of the agreements, participating countries agree to accept the test results and/or product approvals performed by the Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) of the other country based on the use of a set of internationally accepted procedures. The present MRAs only address the issue of harmonizing conformity assessment procedures and do not attempt to harmonize regulatory standards or technical standards. These agreements were initiated and supported by the U.S. industry to allow for the acceptance of each others conformity assessment procedures.  An objective in implementing MRAs is to ease the burden on manufacturers and reduce their costs and time to market for products by implementing transparent conformity assessment processes that are similar within multiple countries while ensuring that products that reach the market are compliant.

Conformity Assessment Body

Within the text of the Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) the term Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) was developed to identify the organizations performing conformity assessment. A Conformity Assessment Body is a body which may include a third party or a supplier's testing laboratory, or a certification body, that is designated to perform conformity assessment to an importing Party's Technical Regulations under this Arrangement.
Under the FCC's Equipment Authorization Program there are two types of Conformity Assessment Bodies:

  • Accredited testing laboratories are used to perform testing of equipment subject to requirements that permit the use of a Declaration of Conformity to demonstrate compliance. (List of FCC recognized accredited testing laboratories). Click on the test firm type and select Accredited.
  • Telecommunication Certification Body (TCB) is used to perform third-party certification of equipment subject to the FCC requirements that require the product to be certified. (List of FCC recognized TCBs)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) participates in the following MRAs:

Implementation of MRAs for Conformity Assessment of Telecommunication Equipment

The FCC implements MRA in accordance with the policies below:


The scope includes all equipment subject to telecommunication regulations, including wire-line and wireless equipment. For such equipment, the MRA covers electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and telecommunications aspects of the conformity.

MRA Benefits

For Manufacturers

  • An opportunity to test and certify products one time to the requirements of multiple markets and ship products without further conformity assessment;
  • Increase certification efficiency for products exported to foreign markets, thus increasing export opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); and
  • Decreasing time-to-market for companies manufacturing telecommunications equipment with shorter and shorter product life cycles, thus maximizing export opportunities and allowing for rapid reinvestment in research and development for next-generation technologies.

For Conformity Assessment Bodies

  • Allowing conformity assessment bodies (CABs) to increase the value of their service by offering their clients a substantially wider portfolio, including testing and certifying products for multiple markets.

For Regulators

  • A reduction of regulatory resources required to certify terminal attachment and radio equipment;
  • An opportunity to reallocate a portion of these former certification costs to other areas;
  • A potential stepping stone towards further harmonizing of technical requirements and of regional and national conformity assessment systems; and
  • Access to a pool of knowledge about the latest global trends and experiences regarding conformity assessment and regulatory systems.

For Consumers

  • Increasing consumer access to the widest variety of available technology;
  • Faster access to equipment at a lower cost; and
  • Speeding the development of telecommunications and Internet infrastructure

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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