Globalization allows us to enjoy and rely on a wide range of products and services supplied from overseas. However, as international trade grows, so too are the number of national and international requirements, voluntary and mandatory technical regulations, standards, testing, inspection, and certification procedures across all market sectors. This encompasses and impacts samples, products, management systems, personnel, or services that we offer. Thus, the need for a tool to help businesses meet these requirements.

Accredited conformity assessment is a tool that helps businesses not only to comply efficiently and effectively with regulations and standards around the globe but also to gain a competitive advantage and to expand into new markets. This is specifically achieved if the conformity assessment is done by a conformity assessment body (CAB) that is accredited by an accreditation body (AB) with international arrangements.

The mutual and international arrangements of ABs are established by the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), International Accreditation Forum (IAF), and the Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (APAC) based on mutual evaluation and acceptance of each other’s accreditation systems.

APAC in particular, manages and expands mutual recognition arrangement (MRA) among accreditation bodies in the Asia Pacific region. The MRA facilitates the acceptance of conformity assessment results like test reports, test certificates, inspection reports, and certification across the region and with other regions around the world.

To simply explain, conformity assessment results that are produced by CABs that have been accredited by one APAC MRA signatory are accepted by all the other APAC MRA signatories. This mutual recognition and acceptance of conformity assessment results reduce the need to undertake duplicate testing, inspection, or certification, thus saving time and money, increasing economic efficiency, and facilitating international trade (APAC, 2021).

Committed to ensuring mutual recognition and acceptance of its CABs’ conformity assessment results as well as bridging the gap between local and international trade requirements, the Department of Trade and Industry – Philippine Accreditation Bureau (DTI-PAB) undergoes regular ILAC/IAF/APAC peer evaluation.

Peer evaluation is used to harmonize the results of accreditation of conformity assessment bodies and as a control mechanism, to ensure consistently competent services according to harmonized international standards.

This rigorous process took place from January 25, 2021 to March 05, 2021. This almost-three-month process was undertaken to maintain PAB’s APAC MRA signatory status for the following scopes and sub-scopes:

  • calibration laboratories;
  • inspection bodies;
  • medical laboratories;
  • testing laboratories;
  • management system certification bodies for quality management system;
  • management system certification bodies for environmental management system; and
  • management system certification bodies for food safety management system.

Through the evaluation, PAB was also able to expand its scopes for international recognition as it was accepted as an APAC MRA signatory member for the scope of product certification.

The bureau shall continue to ensure that its accreditation system is at par with international standards which can be proved through the said evaluation. Furthermore, PAB continuously aims to build consumers’ confidence in the credibility and reliability of its CABs’ conformity assessment activities and results by adhering to the internationally-recognized accreditation process.

PAB will again undertake the next re-evaluation, tentatively set in February 2024 (within the normal 4-year period) to maintain or possibly expand its current scopes and sub-scopes, to cater to more business and consumer sectors.

Release Date: 06 October 2021