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The Agreement on dismantling technical barriers to trade of 1999 (also known as the «Mutual Recognition Agreement», MRA) calls for the mutual recognition by Switzerland and the European Union (EU) of conformity tests for most industrial products. Conformity tests determine whether or not a product meets current standards, e.g. with regard to consumer protection, and is therefore suitable for introduction on the market. The agreement defines the areas where Swiss legislation is considered equivalent to that of the EU; in these areas, a single conformity test is sufficient for the product to be marketed in both Switzerland and the EU. Conformity tests carried out in accordance with Swiss law on products covered by the Agreement allow manufacturers to export their products directly to the EU with the required EC label. If the product satisfies all the requirements, the producer can use the «EC» label on the product which then enters the market cycle without any further checks being necessary.
Elimination of the need for double conformity tests removes a major barrier to trade. Swiss manufacturers thus have market access that is virtually equal to that of their EU competitors for products covered by the Agreement. This generally means lower costs and savings in time for entrepreneurs launching new products on the European market.
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