International Considerations

Just as it is important to have uniform national standards, it is also important to harmonize international standards. Harmonization reduces costs of manufacturing weighing and measuring devices and cost of distributing consumer goods by reducing duplicative testing and other barriers to trade. The National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) makes efforts toward international harmonization on several fronts, including:

  • Inclusion of Canadian officials representing Measurement Canada and Industry Canada in NCWM standards development processes
  • US/Canada Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on Type Evaluation
  • Participation in international meetings of legal metrology
  • Mutual Acceptance Arrangement (MAA) under OIML

Federal officials from Measurement Canada and Industry Canada have participated on NCWM committees, task groups and National Type Evaluation Program Sectors for many years. This gives experts from both North American countries the opportunity to compare and explore best practices for standards in the market place, leading to improved harmonization. Harmonization in turn leads to fewer trade barriers which mean lower production costs and ultimately lower costs for consumers.

The US/Canada Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) goes the next step in harmonization. Under this agreement, Measurement Canada and NCWM are accepting each other’s test reports for certain device types. In doing so, the applicant for type evaluation can save significant costs for obtaining certifications in both countries by submitting to a single evaluation.

The International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) is an international treaty organization that does for countries of the world some of the things that the NCWM does for the states in the United States, which is to provide model standards that can be used voluntarily to harmonize legal metrology requirements. The International Bureau of Legal Metrology (BIML) located in Paris, France serves as the headquarters of OIML. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) actively participates in the many technical committees and subcommittees in OIML.

On occasion, NCWM will also participate when appropriate in the OIML standards development process. Members of NCWM also are invited to participate in national working groups to provide input in the international standards development process. In turn, NCWM takes international standards into consideration as it develops similar US standards.

NCWM has entered into the OIML Mutual Acceptance Arrangement (MAA) for load cells (R 60) as a utilizing participant. This means that NCWM will accept test reports for certain issuing authorities in foreign countries for the purpose of issuing NTEP Certificates of Conformance. This provides similar benefits as described in the US/Canada Mutual Recognition Arrangement. NCWM will give consideration to possible participation in other MAA’s as the program continues to develop and expand to additional device types.