Now that the markets are globalized, it is a must
that the structure of every country´s conformity assessment
be recognized by the due international forums. Without such "tool",
companies that wish to concentrate on the foreign market will find
difficulties, since they will likely face different demands from
For exporters at developing countries, where many
times such recognition is denied, these demands become sort of a
technical barrier. These exporters have to face high extra costs,
linked to multiple tests and multiple certifications that lead to
a decrease on their competitiveness margins.
According to OCDE, the adjustment of goods, session
tests and acquisition of certificates for each country, increase
the total cost of production for the exporting companies by between
2% to 10%.
The Mutual Recognition Agreements - MRA of the conformity
assessment procedures are made aiming to avoid such additional costs,
based on the following philosophy: "once tested, accepted everywhere".
However, to be granted with such recognition is
a very hard task for developing countries. To accomplish it, it
is important to promote technical cooperation programs that make
feasible the change of technology and the experience of developed
countries. Only through such programs on technical cooperation,
it is possible to supply the infrastructure for accreditation of
developing countries -- like Brazil -- of the required level of
trust in their processes, allowing them to pursue such international
Aiming to facilitate the exports from Brazil, Inmetro
has continuously pursued recognition of its accreditations at several
international forums. Currently, some important recognition was
accomplished towards the following forums:
IAF - International Accreditation
The IAF is an international forum that assembles
accredited bodies of several countries, in the scope of certification
of management systems of quality (ISO 9000). It was created on June
9, 1995, when the Agreement Memorandum was officially signed, with
Brazil being one of the ten under signers.
Structuring of the IAF resulted on the need detected
by the market to rationalize the multilateral recognition process
of the bodies responsible for the accreditation of certification
systems of quality, goods and services. Inmetro is a regular member
of IAF and operates on its working groups with a vote, having obtained
multilateral recognition in the ISO 9000 management systems of quality
in August, 1999. In the Americas, only the United States, Canada
and Brazil have claimed such recognition.
In short, this means that the certificates conferred
by certifying bodies accredited by Inmetro to the management of
quality systems of Brazilian companies, following the rules of the
ISO-9000 series, were accepted worldwide by companies based in countries
that have signed the agreement.
EA - European Accreditation
The EA is the cooperation for the accreditation
of laboratories and bodies responsible for the certification and
inspection that involves the European Union member nations. Inmetro
retains a cooperation contract with the EA since 1998. Only accreditation
bodies that are members of the European Union are part of the EA
In 1998, Inmetro introduced a petition to sign a
bilateral agreement with the EA. On January 30, 2001, at the Inmetro
Campus in Xerem, the bilateral agreement of mutual recognition with
the EA was signed, effective immediately. That way, from then on
the bodies that had under signed the EA started to accept the certificates
and reports issued by the laboratories accredited by Inmetro.
Such feat, only accomplished by a few industrialized
countries, granted a "safe conduct" for the Brazilian
exports to European Union member countries. EA´s mutual recognition
confers a differentiated value to calibration certificates and test
reports issued by all calibration labs already accredited by Inmetro.
This implies in acceptance reciprocity, once the products tested
in a country must benefit from the easy access to the overseas market
of the countries that signed the agreement.
In addition, such recognition eliminates barriers
for Brazilian goods, since many importers demand calibration services
that own certificates issued by accredited labs, whose results are
accompanied by declarations of unreliable measurement, and also
that they be regarded by national standards that secure its availability.
ILAC - International Laboratory
ILAC is the international forum that assembles bodies
for accreditation of laboratories from all over the world. Inmetro
has been a member of ILAC since its creation, including as part
of its Executive Committee. Since 1996, ILAC has developed the mechanisms
for the implementation of its international agreement regarding
accreditation of laboratories, whose base documentation was defined
during its General Assembly, organized by Inmetro, in Rio de Janeiro,
in October, 1999.
On November 2, 2000, in Washington, D.C., during
ILAC´s Conference 2000, the ILAC Arrangement was signed by
34 bodies for accreditation of laboratories from 26 different countries
of the five Continents, including Inmetro, Latin America´s
The agreement became effective as of January 31,
2001, with its under signers recognizing the equivalence of their
systems of accreditation of laboratories, while committing themselves
to foster the agreement as well as the acceptance of calibration
certificates and test reports issued by laboratories accredited
by them. That procedure scrapped the need for a repeat or for a
second analysis by the importing countries, thus reducing costs,
increasing competitiveness, which resulted into one more important
support Inmetro provides to Brazilian exporters.
It is equally relevant to observe that, even though
Inmetro has not signed a bilateral agreement with Asia-Pacific Laboratory
Accreditation Cooperation - APLAC, a cooperation that assembles
laboratory accreditation bodies from the Economic Community of Asia-Pacific
(APEC), all member bodies of APLAC are under signers of the ILAC
agreement, therefore, they all accept the certificates issued by
the labs accredited by Inmetro.
Cooperation - IAAC
The IAAC is a regional forum that assembles the
creditor bodies of the three Americas, found in November, 1996,
by Inmetro´s initiative in the areas of test labs, calibration,
bodies of system certification, products, personnel and of inspection
bodies. Its major target is the achievement of the Mutual Recognition
among the under signing countries, regarding the aforementioned
In October, 2002, IAAC promoted the signing of the
first Recognition Agreements, with the participation of Brazil,
the United States, Canada and Mexico, in the activity of laboratory
Bureau International des
Poids et Mesures - BIPM
International Agency of Weights and Measures It
is a forum that assembles the national bodies of scientific and
industrial metrology. In case an exporting country lacks a recognized
system of measurement and tests, it may lose markets, since, more
and more, in developed countries, imports are banned if they are
not accompanied by recognized certificates of measurement and tests.
Such is a serious problem for developing countries and those going
through a transition.
Inmetro claimed recognition of the national standards
of measurement by the International Committee of Weights and Measures
in October, 1999, an something also claimed for the measurement
and calibration certificates issued by the entire Brazilian Calibration
Chain. Brazil, thus, joined the select group of countries worthy
of such worldwide recognition, along with the other 38 members of
the Metrology Convention.