Standards and conformity assessment
Standards and conformity assessment procedures together with technical regulations are three factors potentially constituting technical barriers to trade.
While technical regulations are setting mandatory product requirements, standards contain voluntary detailed technical specifications and criteria for the characteristics of products assisting manufacturers in complying with the mandatory requirements set in technical regulations.
Conformity assessment procedures are a tool to demonstrate that a product complies with all relevant mandatory product requirements. Third party conformity assessment requires an intervention by independent conformity assessment bodies or public authorities and is usually required for medium to high risk products. When mandatory third-party conformity assessment is required this increases conformity assessment costs (financial costs and delays in accessing a market). Bilateral mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) on conformity assessment are intended to reduce the costs of testing and certification in other markets which by providing that each party accepts the reports, certificates and marks that are delivered in the partner country in accordance with the legislation of the other party.
An EU survey on conformity assessment was undertaken from 10 March until 24 April 2022. Download survey results