This morning the United States signed an agreement with Mexico that should significantly improve the competitiveness of U.S. telecommunications equipment in the important and growing Mexican market. In 2010, bilateral trade in these products totaled about $25 billion.
In another demonstration of the value to U.S. manufacturers of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico will no longer require that U.S. products be (redundantly) tested in Mexico to demonstrate they meet Mexican standards/technical requirements. Under the “Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) for Conformation Assessment of Telecommunications Equipment,” Mexico will allow recognized American testing facilities and laboratories to test products and certify that they meet Mexican requirements, and vice versa.
Not having to ship products to a Mexican facility and pay for testing should reduce costs for U.S. telecommunications equipment manufacturers. It should be of particular value to smaller manufacturers for whom redundant testing can be a significant cost hurdle. It should also speed product entry as U.S. equipment can be tested in one facility at the same time to both U.S. and Mexican standards.
The National Association of Manufacturers thanks the U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk for getting this agreement done, the first with a Latin American country. The NAM has long supported Mutual Recognition Agreements as one way among many to reduce the expense and time associated with meeting foreign standards and technical regulations that may have only minor differences with U.S. requirements. We encourage USTR to continue to look for commercially meaningful MRAs with other trade partners to help enhance America’s competitive edge. Well done!
Stephen Jacobs is senior director of international business policy, National Association of Manufacturers.