In a move aimed to help reduce export costs and continue its efforts to reduce non-tariff trade barriers to trade, the APEC Telecommunications & Information Working Group (APEC TEL) have released two new documents to assist the telecommunications industry and test houses to speed time-to-market and reduce export costs for telecommunications products. It is critical that these guides are distributed to the industry and the test houses in the region and APEC TEL wishes to invite the region's press to support its efforts by informing the industry of their availability.

These guides provide an overview of the APEC TEL Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Conformity Assessment of Telecommunications Products (MRA). This landmark MRA was the first multilateral agreement of its type in the world and will remove a significant barrier to what is projected to be a US$60 billion industry by 2010.

APEC Telecommunications and Information Ministers agreed to streamline APEC-wide processes for the testing and type-approval of telecommunications equipment in June of 1998. Today, seven member economies are actively participating and are in the process of establishing ties under the MRA. Fifteen economies have committed to being active by the end of 2003.

It also introduces the MRA Management System (MRAMS), a state-of-the-art system that will automate the complex notification procedures that are required between testing labs, industry and governments. This system will mark the first time information technology will be used to significantly address the issues of implementation of an international agreement. It is especially significant then that a New Economy system such as MRAMS will have such a significant role to play in the full implementation of this Arrangement.

MRAMS was designed during the negotiation phase of the MRA process. It stores and manages all available information on regulations, standards, legislation and interpretations relating to Telecommunications for the APEC economies. It also includes Conformity Assessment Bodies accredited and designated by exporting parties and recognized by importing parties and the management and manipulation of the enormous amount of regulatory data associated with the MRA. It supports all forms of regulatory regime including Supplier's Declarations of Conformity that is being discussed for inclusion into the MRA at the next APEC TEL meeting in Korea in September 2001.

The Guides are available for downloading from

For additional information contact:

Theodore Polites
MRA Outreach Project Consultant
The Colony Park Group
205 Parkinsons Rd, Launching Place,
Australia. 3139

Richard Thwaites, Chair
APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group
Office of the APEC TEL Chair
GPO Box 8771, Canberra, ACT,
Australia. 2601

Assistant to the Chair -

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence among Asia-Pacific economies. Begun as an informal dialogue group, APEC has since become the primary regional vehicle for promoting open trade and practical economic cooperation. Its goal is to advance Asia-Pacific economic dynamism and sense of community. Today, APEC's 21 member economies had a combined Gross Domestic Product of over US$18 trillion in 1999 and 43.85 percent of global trade.

The APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group (TEL) was formed in 1990. The work of the TEL is accomplished by four steering groups, which propose, implement and monitor projects and activities to advance the overall goals of APEC. Each steering group addresses a specific priority area: liberalization; business facilitation; development cooperation; and human resource development. Its Program for Action focuses on continuing liberalization efforts, including endorsement of a reference list of a Fully Liberalized Telecommunications Sector. The business and private sector from many APEC member economies are actively involved in TEL activities, including all four TEL Steering Groups. Many projects are both initiated and driven solely by the private sector or in cooperation with the public sector.

The Colony Park Group is the designer and developer of the APEC endorsed MRA Management System and is currently in negotiations with the Organization of American States to provide a multi-lingual version of this system to the Inter-American Telecommunications Commission (CITEL). Formed in 1999, it is a provider of regulatory consultancy, specialized internet-based management software development and strategic business research with affiliates in Australia, Canada, Chile and Singapore. The Colony Park Group is a Lotus and Interliant Business Partner. -

This document and the Guides have been produced on behalf of the APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group under the APEC funded MRA Outreach Program (APEC TEL 16/2001).