Regulatory policy of the single market: international aspects
The Internal market has developed largely from a trade facilitation mechanism into one that marries trade facilitation with a high level of protection of public interests, as defined in the Treaty. Policy relating to conformity assessment and product certification in external trade aims to ensure adequate representation of EU interests in a number of wider cooperation activities towards trade facilitation and harmonisation practices, and coherence with the policies applied within the EU market.
Implementing policy for external trade in the fields of standards and conformity assessment
The activities through which these trade objectives have so far been pursued are:
- Reliance on the WTO, notably the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade;
- Conclusion of bilateral Agreements on conformity assessment and acceptance of industrial products (ACAAs) with Candidate countries and Neighbouring countries based on the alignment of the legislative system and infrastructure of the country concerned with those of the European Community;
- Conclusion of bilateral (inter-governmental) agreements to reduce barriers and the cost of trade, which have so far consisted in the conclusion of Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) for conformity assessment, certificates and marking, which are intended to reduce the costs of testing and certification in other markets, notably those of major trading partners;
- Technical assistance to ensure that other countries' regulatory regimes are transparent and trade-friendly, and that an appropriate infrastructure in the areas of testing and certification is being put into place;
- Regulatory co-operation, aiming at harmonising regulations with trading partners, achieving a common understanding of "best regulatory practice" (BRP), and promoting recourse to it, including increased transparency in regulations and standards, international standardisation, and the harmonisation of regulations amongst trading partners.