Electrical and electronics sector is one of the mature sectors in terms of harmonisation or utilisation of international standards as basis of safety and quality of EE products. ASEAN Member States (AMS) have different national standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures involving the safety and quality of Electronics and Electronic Equipment (EEE). The AMS have been harmonising EE products’ national standards with international standards following International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards.
The AMS, in line with the implementation of the ASEAN Harmonised Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulatory Regime (AHEEERR), have agreed on 121 IEC standards as meeting the essential requirements of safety, environment and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) of the AHEEERR. Although the level of harmonisation varies among member states due to infrastructure and regulatory considerations, member states have referred their national standards with IEC standards.
Additionally, the ASEAN Economic Ministers signed the ASEAN Sectoral Mutual Recognition Arrangement for Electrical and Electronic Equipment (ASEAN EE MRA). The MRA provides for recognition of test results and product certifications conducted by listed testing laboratories and certification bodies in ASEAN thereby allowing the products tested and certified in the source country to verify the compliance of the products to the importing country requirements prior to export. It saves cost and reduces time to market an EE product without compromising the safety of consumers and quality of the product.
Prior to the ASEAN EE MRA, some member states do not allow testing of the product from the source country as they do not control the competence of the testing laboratory. This delay the entry of the goods to the market as the product can only be tested upon arrival at the port and cannot be released or sold without showing compliance of the product with the requirements of national standard. The limited testing adds to the delay of the processing of approval certificate for the product. The ASEAN EE MRA addresses these concerns and has been widely used in the region. Exporters can use the listed testing laboratory and certification body for their product to assure acceptance of results. There are 16 testing laboratories and 6 certification bodies that are listed under the ASEAN EE MRA and recognized by importing country for product approvals.
The EE sector has gone beyond MRAs. While the ASEAN EE MRA is an effective tool for facilitating the entry of the product in the importing country, it does not fully address the existence of technical barrier with different national standards still in existence and different conformity assessment procedure apply for the same EE product.