Recognition of conformity assessment bodies
Conformity assessment is a broad term covering a range of activities, including the assessment of a product for compliance with certain requirements (eg product-specific standards) and confirmation of compliance by the manufacturer or by means of a certificate issued by a duly recognised certification body.
Conformity assessment in Europe is of particular importance in the "mandatory area", ie the area regulated by law, where proof is required of compliance not only with the relevant standards but also with the essential (minimum) requirements laid down in the applicable EU Directives. These requirements cover health and safety aspects and in the radiocommunications sector, for instance, efficient use of the frequency spectrum.
Proof of conformity within the scope of EU Directives is usually the responsibility of the manufacturers themselves. A manufacturer can have compliance with the applicable requirements assessed and confirmed through an independent third body (conformity assessment body). Under the EU Directives this is the task of notified bodies.
The Bundesnetzagentur is responsible for assessing and recognising notified bodies operating under the German R&TTE Act and EMC Act; the bodies are then notified to the European Commission and listed in the "Nando" database. The Bundesnetzagentur acts as the central body for inputting data into the database and provides the platform for coordination between the notifying authorities and other authorities and departments.
The European Union has concluded Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) with the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Switzerland with the aim of promoting worldwide trade. These agreements regulate the mutual recognition of bodies recognised in the various economic zones. The MRAs allow conformity assessment bodies in one zone to assess certain products against the legal regulations of another country or zone. The Bundesnetzagentur has responsibility in the fields of telecommunications and electromagnetic compatibility.
Please read the relevant subsections for further information. You are also welcome to contact us if you have any questions.