Last reviewed 29 November 2019

In line with its commitment to enhanced transparency in trade negotiations, the European Commission has published its proposal for an EU-United States agreement on conformity assessment for industrial products.

A product exported between the two sides often has to undergo an assessment to demonstrate that it complies with the technical and safety requirements of the importing party, a so-called “conformity assessment”.

This tends to mean additional costs for exporters, which is especially burdensome for smaller companies who often decide not to export at all because of those costs and complexities.

The Commission proposal seeks an agreement under which both sides would accept the conformity assessment results of the other’s assessment bodies, certifying products against the legal requirement of the other side.

This would enable exporters to seek certification of their products in their originating country.

The proposal covers all relevant industrial sectors where third-party conformity assessment is required by either side. In addition, the EU proposal addresses the difficulties faced by EU exporters of machinery and electric and electronic equipment in the certification of products sold in the US market.

“This would make trade quicker, easier and cheaper, while maintaining a high level of consumer safety,” the Commission argued. “The economic benefits are important: EU-US trade in goods amounted to €674 billion in 2018, with many products being subject to third-party conformity assessment.”

It said that the EU was ready to conclude an agreement as early as next year.