International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) Expanded to Include Inspection Bodies

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The ILAC MRA, previously only included testing and calibration laboratories. It now extends to include inspection bodies as well.

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The scope of the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) was extended to include the accreditation of inspection bodies on October 24, 2012 at the annual ILAC/IAF meetings held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Thirty-nine accreditation bodies from thirty-nine economies became the inaugural signatories ( to the ILAC MRA for the accreditation of inspection bodies.

The accreditation bodies that are signatories to the ILAC MRA for inspection use the international standard ISO/IEC 17020 Conformity assessment – Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection to accredit inspection bodies. This ensures a uniform approach to assessing inspection body competence. This consistency allows economies to establish cross-border agreements, based on mutual evaluation and acceptance of each other’s inspection body accreditation systems. Such international agreements, called mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs), are crucial in enabling the acceptance of inspection reports and / or certificates and therefore facilitating the acceptance of goods and services between economies.

Each signatory to the ILAC MRA recognizes the accreditation and results of an inspection body accredited by another signatory, as if it were one of its own accredited inspection bodies.

Inspection is an essential part of ensuring that many items in use daily by the public meet specific requirements including safety aspects. Inspection services are provided by both large multinational organizations, and a growing number of smaller local specialist bodies. In 2011, inspection activities were carried out by thousands of companies, generating $255.28 billion in revenue a year and employing over 600,000 employees world-wide (Source: Industrial Capital Strategies LLC).

About A2LA:
The American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) is a signatory to the ILAC MRA and has operated as a non-profit, third party accreditation body for over 30 years. A2LA offers a comprehensive inspection body accreditation program, utilizing the standard ISO/IEC 17020. Inspection bodies accredited by A2LA are fully recognized under the ILAC MRA.

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