American Association for Laboratory Accreditation

International Recognition of A2LA Programs

A2LA seeks to establish cooperative arrangements with accreditation systems in other countries and in the United States. These arrangements facilitate the acceptance of data and results between A2LA-accredited organizations and other countries/economies. A2LA will testify to the competence of each accreditation system with whom it has an MRA/MLA and attest to the fact that they follow the recognized norm for operating such systems, ISO 17011, and use the relevant standard (e.g. ISO/IEC 17025) as the basis for the applicant organizations.


International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC)


The Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) with the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) was signed on November 2, 2000 and entered into force on January 31, 2001. The original arrangement was signed by 36 laboratory accreditation bodies from 28 economies worldwide. The primary aim of the arrangement is to promote the acceptance of technical test and calibration data for exported goods. A2LA was one of three original U.S. signatory bodies. Under the ILAC MRA, A2LA is recognized for the accreditation of testing and calibration laboratories and inspection bodies. ILAC has launched a new website http://ilac.org/ which provides easy access to information for visitors (such as government and regulators), access to ILAC publications and promotional materials as well as access to information in 13 different languages.

In addition, there is a new ILAC signatory search available in order to promote the MRA and to make it easy to search for signatories to the ILAC MRA.

ILAC also regularly publishes a newsletter, ILAC News, with important updates from the ILAC Secretariat, updates on regional and international cooperations, updates from ILAC MRA signatory accreditation bodies and updates from ILAC stakeholders. Subscriptions to ILAC News are free and may be arranged here.


Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC)

The Mutual Recognition Arrangement with the Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC) was originally signed on November 19, 1997 and establishes cooperation among many accreditation bodies throughout the Asia-Pacific Region. Under the APLAC MRA, A2LA is recognized for the accreditation of testing (including medical testing) and calibration laboratories, inspection bodies, proficiency testing providers and reference material producers. The contact information for A2LA's partner accreditation bodies that are now signatories to the APLAC MRA is located at http://www.aplac.org/aplac_mra.html.

 

Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC)

The Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation is an association of accreditation bodies and other organizations interested in conformity assessment in the Americas. The Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) with the Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC) was originally signed on October 24, 2002. The first three signatories were A2LA, INMETRO of Brazil and SCC of Canada. By signing the arrangement, A2LA, SCC and INMETRO agreed to formally recognize and promote the equivalency of each other's laboratory accreditations. Since these three bodies already recognized each other under the ILAC (International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation) Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA), this first signing was largely symbolic but formed the foundation for expanding recognition in the Americas. Under the IAAC MLA, A2LA is recognized for the accreditation of testing (including medical testing) and calibration laboratories, inspection bodies and product certification bodies. To obtain more information on the current IAAC MLA signatories, please visit the IAAC web site at: http://www.iaac.org.mx/


International Accreditation Forum (IAF)

The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) is an association of accreditation bodies interested in conformity assessment in the fields of management systems, products, services, personnel and other similar programs. A2LA is a signatory to the IAF Multilateral Arrangement (IAF MLA) as of May 16, 2011 for the main scope, Product Certification. Accreditation body members of IAF are admitted to the IAF MLA only after a stringent evaluation of their operations by a peer evaluation team which is responsible for ensuring that the applicant member complies fully with both international standards and IAF requirements. The primary function of the MLA is to develop a single, worldwide program of conformity assessment, which reduces risk for business and its customers by assuring them that accredited certificates may be relied upon. To obtain more information on the current IAF MLA signatories, please visit the IAF website at: http://www.iaf.nu.

 

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement, released on November 5, 2015, between twelve Pacific Rim countries. The agreement's goals are to promote economic growth, support the creation and retention of jobs, enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness, raise living standards, promote transparency, good governance and enhanced labor and environmental protections. Accreditation recognized by existing regional and international mutual recognition arrangements (ILAC and IAF) is referenced as being a key measure to support trade through the removal of technical barriers to trade. The twelve Pacific Rim countries include: New Zealand, Mexico, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, Vietnam and the United States.

Click here to access the agreement's table of contents.

Click here to access the chapter that refers to Technical Barriers to Trade.

 

International Private Sector

In addition to the MRAs described above, A2LA has received recognition within the international private sector as well. 

  • The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) - in its January 2009 World Anti-Doping Code International Standard for Laboratories - requires laboratories to be accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 by an accreditation body that is a signatory to the ILAC MRA (such as A2LA) using assessors trained and qualified by WADA. WADA was established in 1999 as an international, independent agency composed of and funded equally by the sport movement and governments of the world.  Its key activities include scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities and monitoring of the World Anti Doping Code, the document harmonizing anti-doping policies in all sports and all countries.
  • The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Accreditation Center (GAC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with A2LA on November 18, 2014. The MOU provides a framework for cooperation for different sectors of accreditation, including assessment and joint accreditation of conformity assessment bodies applying for accreditation or already accredited by A2LA or GAC.