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NEW "RECOGNITION ARRANGEMENT" COULD LOWER EXPORT BARRIERS.

World trade could begin shedding some red tape on Jan. 31, 2001--the starting date for a recently signed "mutual recognition arrangement" among accreditation bodies in 28 economies.

Under the arrangement, NIST's National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NYLAP) and 36 counterpart organizations in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America agree to use the same international standards and guides when ACCREDITING testing and calibration laboratories. If a laboratory is judged to be competent by any one of the signatories, then test results issued by the accredited laboratory will be accepted by all. This mutual recognition is intended to reduce the amount of duplicative testing that many businesses now encounter when selling products and services in various foreign markets.

The arrangement comes under the umbrella of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC). Headquartered in Australia, the 23 year old organization is devoted to harmonizing laboratory accreditation procedures and to boosting industry, consumer and government confidence in laboratory testing and calibrations.

More than 750 laboratories are accredited by NVLAP in 18 major fields, including computer security, electronics testing, ionizing radiation dosimetry, and time and frequency measurements. Goods or services tested by any one of these laboratories should be accepted more readily by authorities in economies represented by the signers of the ILAC arrangement.

Besides NVLAP, two other U.S.-based accreditation bodies--the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation and the ICBO Evaluation Service-signed the arrangement.
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Publication:Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2000
Words:232
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