USTR - United States Signs Agreement with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein to Facilitate Trade
Office of the United States Trade Representative

 

United States Signs Agreement with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein to Facilitate Trade
10/17/2005

WASHINGTON - U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman, Norwegian Ambassador Knut Vollebæk, Icelandic Ambassador Helgi Agustsson, and Liechtenstein Ambassador Claudia Fritsche today signed mutual recognition agreements (MRA) covering the sectors of telecommunications equipment, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), recreational craft, and marine equipment.  These new agreements parallel the existing U.S. MRAs with the European Community.

“Today’s agreements build upon our successful approaches with the EU to facilitate transatlantic trade and promote regulatory cooperation.  These new agreements will save U.S. manufacturers the time and expense of redundant product testing for these additional markets, while maintaining our high levels of health and safety protection.  Manufacturers, regulators, and consumers all stand to benefit,” said Ambassador Portman.

As members of the European Economic Area (EEA), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein (known collectively as the EEA EFTA States) are fully integrated into the European Community’s single market and apply the same regulations as the EU.  These new agreements, in effect, will extend U.S. benefits in these four MRA sectors to the entire EEA market of 28 European countries with over 460 million consumers. 

Current U.S.-EEA EFTA States trade in the covered sectors of telecommunications equipment, EMC, recreational craft, and marine equipment is approximately $200-300 million dollars annually.

These agreements will permit approved U.S. laboratories to conduct required conformity assessment procedures (e.g., product tests) for designated products according to EEA EFTA requirements (U.S. requirements in the case of marine equipment), and vice versa. This saves manufacturers the time and expense of additional product testing, lowers prices for consumers, and conserves regulators’ resources. 

The MRAs are designed to facilitate trade, while maintaining our high levels of health and safety protection.  The agreement fully preserves the authority of the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Federal Communications Commission to determine the level of safety protection it considers appropriate, and in no way lowers current U.S. safety requirements.     

Background

The United States and the EEA EFTA States signed two separate MRAs today, involving the following sectors:

U.S.-EEA EFTA States MRA (Telecommunications, EMC, and Recreational Craft):  The MRA is composed of a framework agreement and three sectoral annexes which mirror the provisions of the 1998 U.S.-EC MRA.  The agreement permits approved U.S. laboratories to conduct required conformity assessment procedures (e.g., product tests) for designated products according to EEA EFTA requirements.  The sectoral annex on telecommunications equipment covers telecommunications terminal equipment, including radio transmitters and information technology equipment.  The EMC annex covers equipment subject to EEA and U.S. radio interference and compatibility requirements, including radios imported into the United States and most electrical and electronic equipment exported to the EEA EFTA States.  The recreational craft annex covers the safety certification of small boats.

U.S.-EEA EFTA States Marine Equipment MRA:  The MRA parallels the provisions of the 2004 U.S.-EC Marine Equipment MRA. Under the terms of the MRA, designated products which comply with U.S. requirements will be accepted for sale in the EEA EFTA States without any additional testing.   The initial product scope includes 43 products in three main categories: life saving equipment (e.g., life rafts, flares); fire protection equipment (e.g., deck coverings, flame retardant materials); and navigational equipment (e.g., compasses, GPS equipment, echo-sounding equipment).  The agreement also contemplates expanding the product scope in the future. 

The U.S.-EEA EFTA States MRAs are available at www.ustr.gov.

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item: 2005 US-EEA EFTA Mutual Recognition Agreement
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