APLAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA)

One of the primary aims of APLAC is to harmonise accreditation practices in the region and to extend the APLAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA). The inaugural signing of the APLAC MRA was in Tokyo on 19 November 1997 when seven APLAC Full members signed. APLAC is also an ILAC-recognised region and most signatories to the APLAC MRA are also Members of ILAC (i.e. signatories to the global ILAC Arrangement for testing and/or calibration).

This MRA forms a regional network of laboratories and inspection bodies accredited by accreditation bodies that have been peer-evaluated and recognised as being competent. This network facilitates the acceptance of test, calibration and inspection reports in the region, thus contributing to the facilitation of trade and the free-trade goal of “tested/inspected once, accepted everywhere”.

The APLAC MRA is based on the results of an intensive evaluation of each accreditation body done in accordance with procedures detailed in the relevant APLAC publications. Each APLAC MRA signatory has demonstrated compliance with the international standard ISO/IEC 17011 and that its accredited facilities are in compliance with ISO/IEC 17025 (laboratories), ISO 15189 (medical laboratories), ISO/IEC 17020 (inspection bodies), ISO 17034 (RMPs), and/or ISO/IEC 17043 (PTPs). A re-evaluation is done at a maximum of 4-yearly intervals by a team of trained APLAC peer-evaluators.

Obligations of APLAC MRA signatories include:

  1. Recognition, within its own scope of recognition the accreditation of a laboratory, inspection body, RMP or PTP by other signatories as being equivalent to an accreditation by its own organisation.
  2. Acceptance, for its own purposes, endorsed calibration, test or inspection reports, reference materials certificates or proficiency testing reports issued by laboratories, inspection bodies, reference material producers or proficiency testing providers accredited by other signatories on the same basis as it accepts endorsed calibration, test or inspection reports issued by its own accredited laboratories and/or inspection bodies.
  3. Recommending and promoting the acceptance by users in its economy of endorsed test, calibration, and inspection reports, reference material certificates or proficiency testing reports issued by organisations accredited by other signatories.

Currently 38 of the 48 Full APLAC members are signatories to the APLAC MRA. The scopes of recognition of each signatory is summarised below.