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United States Signs Agreement with Japan to Facilitate Trade in Telecommunications Equipment

February 16, 2007

WASHINGTON DC - The United States and Japan today signed a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) that will help U.S. telecommunications and radio equipment makers market and sell their products in Japan and expand the acceptance in Japan of determinations made by U.S. certification bodies.

The agreement was signed by Deputy United States Trade Representative Karan Bhatia and Japan’s representative in Washington, Charge d’Affaires ad interim, Akitaka Saiki.

“Today’s agreement provides an important new tool for U.S. companies to expand their exports of telecommunications equipment to Japan,” said U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab.  “I welcome this step to further strengthen access to opportunities in the Japanese market for U.S. manufacturers of telecommunications equipment and certification bodies.”

Under the agreement signed today, Japan will accept the results of conformity assessment procedures (i.e., product testing and certification) performed by approved certification bodies in the United States demonstrating that telecommunications equipment meets Japan’s technical requirements.  Japan’s agreement to accept certification by recognized U.S. bodies will lower costs and speed up the marketing in Japan of innovative U.S. products.  In 2005, total U.S.-Japan trade in telecommunications equipment was approximately $2.6 billion, and Japan was the United States’ fourth largest export market for such products.


MRAs, such as this agreement in the telecommunications area, are government-to-government agreements that require each party to accept the results of conformity assessment procedures conducted on equipment by approved conformity assessment bodies (e.g., certification bodies) of the other party, if the results demonstrate compliance with the party’s technical requirements.

MRAs reduce the time it takes American products to be approved for use in other countries’ markets, reduce the costs associated with testing and certification, and increase the transparency of technical requirements and conformity assessment procedures. 

MRAs facilitate trade, while maintaining high levels of health and safety protection, and in no way alters either party’s ability to determine the level of health and safety protection it considers appropriate. 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a federal agency within the Department of Commerce, will designate qualified conformity assessment bodies in the United States to conduct conformity assessment procedures demonstrating products’ conformity with specific Japanese requirements.  The terms of the agreement signed today will apply regardless of the location of the supplier or the country of origin of the equipment, including where the country of origin of the equipment is other than the United States or Japan.  Thus, products that are manufactured in third countries but certified as meeting Japanese technical requirements by a conformity assessment body in the Untied States can also benefit from the agreement.

This is the sixth telecommunications MRA covering certification that the United States has concluded, following MRAs with the EU and EEA-EFTA (Iceland, Lichtenstein, and Norway) that cover inter alia telecommunications equipment, and with Canada, Hong Kong, and Singapore under the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) telecommunications MRA.

The text of the Agreement on Mutual Recognition of the Results of Conformity Assessment Procedures between the United States and Japan (U.S.-Japan Telecom MRA) is available here.