A traditional MRA is an agreement on the mutual recognition of “conformity assessment”. Parties to an MRA do not need to change their technical rules, which is why the UK government is now offering MRAs for conformity assessment as part of its new trade agreements. These agreements benefit regulators by reducing double inspections in any other area, allowing for a greater focus on sites that may be at greater risk and expanding the coverage of inspections in the global supply chain. This agreement allows for mutual recognition, promotes trade and facilitates market access between the two countries for certain types of marine equipment. “Mutual recognition” took centre stage at yesterday`s stormy press conference in Brussels at the end of the third round of Brexit negotiations. Some have hoped that this could be the secret ingredient that will allow the UK to have its single market cake and eat it. However, European Commission negotiators have recently opposed the mutual recognition of UK testing laboratories deemed to be in compliance. What the internal market has today is an exceptional form of mutual recognition, based on the Cassis de Dijon principle, first introduced in 1979 in the context of a judicial procedure of the same name. This principle applies to all EU/EEA rules that have not been harmonised, i.e. are replaced by supranational EU rules common to all Member States. The first scenario examines assumptions that no agreement would be reached on time between the UK and the EU, so that WTO rules would enter into force from 1 January 2021. A simple free trade agreement would allow the elimination of all tariffs on trade in goods for all sectors in the second scenario, a hypothesis considered realistic in the report.
The third provides that non-tariff measures (NTMs) will also be included in the free trade agreement, such as regulatory cooperation on MSGs, inspections and batch testing through a mutual recognition agreement. However, recent free trade agreements indicate a change in approach and acceptance of “traditional” SARs. For example, Articles 4(6) and 7(21)(4) of the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement provide for the negotiation of mutual recognition of conformity assessment for goods and services. Other examples of mutual recognition of the rules include the 2004 EU-US MRA for marine equipment, the 1998 Trans-German Mutual Recognition Agreement between Australia and New Zealand (TTMRA) and the 2002 EU-Switzerland MRA. . . .