International recognition of accreditation facilitates access to export markets
Thanks to the Multilateral Agreements of which Cofrac is a signatory, an accreditation obtained in France can be recognised not only in Europe but all over the world. But please note that, in order for recognition to operate, the service concerned must be included in the field of accreditation and the report or certificate must either bear the Cofrac label or explicitly refer to the issuer’s accreditation.
What are the signatories' undertakings?
In application of the multilateral agreements set up by EA, ILAC and IAF, the signatories recognise the accreditations they issue as being mutually equivalent. They are committed to facilitating mutual acceptance of the results provided under accreditation in all signatory countries. Thanks to these agreements, it is therefore no longer necessary for a product supplier, for example, to have its products certified in each country in which they are to be marketed.
The signatories too are regularly assessed
The signatories to these agreements are subject to regular assessments by their peers, like them signatory accreditation bodies, based on the international standards (ISO/IEC 17011 standard and directives based on EA, ILAC and IAF documents). These assessments, which provide the opportunity for the assessment teams and the body assessed to discuss their practices, are meant to ensure that accreditation practices are both coherent and harmonised.
EA (European co-operation for Accreditation) is the European organisation that currently groups the signatory countries to the MLA (Multilateral Agreement) or bilateral agreements conferring the same rights and obligations between one country and another with a comparable perimeter.
Click here for the member countries of EA:
Click here for the fields in which the various countries are signatories to EA's MLA agreement:
ILAC and IAF
ILAC (International Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation) and IAF (International Accreditation Forum) are world-level organisations working respectively for the recognition of accreditation of laboratories and accreditation of certification. ILAC and IAF have set up and maintain multilateral mutual recognition agreements based on the regional agreements developed by EA in Europe, APLAC (Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation for laboratories and inspection) and PAC (Pacific Accreditation Co-operation for certification) in Asia-Pacific.
Inspection is a field which currently finds itself at the intersection of two worldwide organisations, covered by a joint committee. Other subjects are also piloted by a common committee concerning the planning and organisation of general assembly meetings, assistance with the creation of accreditation systems in countries that do not have them, or to the writing of an application guide to the future standard, ISO/IEC 17011, for accreditors.
Click here for the member countries and the signatory countries to IAF's MRA