Reduce technical barriers to trade

We facilitate trade through a robust standards and compliance infrastructure and Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs).

This reduces costs and delays for exporters and increases the supply of reliable products to the Australian market.

We do this by:

Mutual recognition agreements

MRAs improve the movement of goods and labor nationally and internationally by recognizing test reports and certificates issued by a designated conformity assessment body.

They facilitate trade by allowing a product’s compliance requirements (testing, inspection and certification) to be undertaken in the country of export, rather than the country of destination.

The benefits of mutual recognition include:

  • manufacturing to meet a single standard to ensure lower costs for businesses and improved competitiveness
  • greater availability of products and greater choice for consumers
  • reduced risk for importers and reduced approval times.

We manage the mutual recognition of goods while another department manages the mutual recognition of professions.

The Australian government has introduced an automatic mutual recognition scheme to improve job mobility, making it easier for Australians in approved jobs to move to where their skills are needed and giving businesses and consumers quicker access to workers qualified.

More information on this reform, including a uniform scheme for automatic mutual recognition of professional registrations developed by the Commonwealth with the States and Territories, can be found at Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministry website. Please note that this work is not intended to change the current arrangements for mutual recognition of goods.

Australia has entered into MRAs with:

  • Australian states and territories
  • New Zealand
  • Europe including UK
  • Singapore.

National and New Zealand Mutual Recognition

The Mutual Recognition Act 1992 allows goods sold in one Australian state or territory to be sold in another without having to meet further requirements. This principle also applies across Australia and New Zealand under the Transtasmanian Mutual Recognition Act of 1997 (TTMRA).

MRAs do not affect laws that regulate:

  • how the goods are sold
  • quarantine
  • the threatened species
  • restricted goods, including firearms, prohibited weapons, fireworks and indecent material
  • ozone depleting substances
  • gambling machines
  • therapeutic goods
  • Road vehicles
  • certain radiocommunication equipment
  • regulated chemicals and hazardous substances
  • gas appliance standards
  • persons exercising regulated professions.

Under ARMs, the sale of certain goods can be stopped:

  • temporarily for up to 12 months, for health, safety or environmental reasons. A TTMRA exemption can be extended if all governments involved agree
  • permanent if all participating jurisdictions approve the decision and provide a clear rationale.

Email us if you are a regulator that needs help with the exemption process.

Mutual recognition with Europe, including the UK

The Agreement on Mutual Recognition in Conformity Assessment, Certificates and Markings between Australia and the European Community (EC-MRA) entered into force on 1 January 1999. A the amendment agreement entered into force on January 1, 2013.

The agreement also extends to Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein under the Mutual Recognition Agreement on Conformity Assessment, Certificates and Markings between Australia and the Republic of Iceland, the Principality of Liechtenstein and the Kingdom of Norway (MRA EFTA).

The Mutual Recognition Agreement in Conformity Assessment, Certificates and Markings between the Government of Australia and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) was signed in January 2019, and entered into force on 1 January 2021, when the EC-MRA no longer applied in the UK. It continues to apply the Mutual Recognition Agreements between Australia and the UK which are currently provided for under the EC-MRA.

MRAs cover:

  • automotive products
  • electromagnetic compatibility
  • low voltage electrical equipment
  • telecommunications terminal equipment
  • machinery
  • Medical equipement
  • good pharmaceutical manufacturing practices
  • pressure equipment.

MRAs facilitate trade by giving exporters the choice of undertaking product compliance requirements (testing, inspection and certification) in their country of origin or their country of destination. Exporters may need to have their products tested by an appropriate conformity assessment body prior to export.

Australian exporters must comply with EC Directives and regulation, including the application of a CE marking on products export and sell legally in Europe. Australian exporters to the UK can refer to the UK government website.

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