DOC Sponsors EU Conformity Assessment Roundtable

John Knappenberger, ANAB’s President and CEO, was among 25 attendees at a European Union Conformity Assessment Roundtable sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce in June. Key individuals were invited to the two-hour meeting to provide input so the three U.S. Trade Representatives (USTR) present could gather data on five subjects:

  1. How EU accreditation works
  2. Issues with regard to interactions with EU agencies
  3. Issues with regard to results of those interactions with EU agencies
  4. Thought on expansion intentions of accreditation schemes in the EU
  5. Thoughts on testing requirements from the EU (their use of EU standards rather than other “equivalent standards”)

While Knappenberger characterized the input as being somewhat random, he noted the following:

  • There was a lot of focus on product and laboratory testing. Two key areas were special testing requirements prescribed by the EU and how the current law makes it harder for U.S. firms to trade in the EU. 
  • Little time was devoted to management systems. 
  • Knappenberger and ILAC chair Peter Unger advocated for the existing IAF and ILAC mutual recognition schemes and asked the USTRs to make sure they advocate for the same.
  • Several of the invited participants provided assurance that the EU law does not damage the IAF and ILAC mutual recognition agreements and the like. They encouraged USTRs focus on this issue.

“The question we all had leaving the meeting was whether any of this input make a difference,” Knappenberger said. “Based on those who turned out, we all invested and are looking for some return – and that point was made clear during the meeting.”