RF Design: U.S.-Mexico Telecommunications Agreement
In May of 2011, US Trade Representatives met with the Mexican Secretary
of Economy and signed a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA), which eases
the burden on US companies seeking the export of telecommunications
products to Mexico. As a result of this MRA, Mexican regulatory authorities
will now accept testing performed by recognized laboratories in the US when
determining compliance to the technical requirements of Mexico.
Essentially, the adoption of this MRA allows out of country testing of products, which prior to this agreement could only have its conformity assessment performed by laboratories with locations in Mexico. This trade agreement will foster mutually beneficial relationship for US and Mexican manufacturers with products integrating RF design or implementing new antenna design, and provide new avenues and opportunities for growth by removing barriers of entry to the Mexican marketplace. These opportuinties can translate to faster time-to-market during the approval process, and consumer cost savings by reducing the total cost of the tesing and approval program.
According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, Mexico is the nations third-largest trading partner, with two-way trades of $393 billion in 2010, $25 billion of which was specific to the telecommunications industry. The original agreement had a confidence building period of 18 months, which have included joint meeting between the US Government and the Government of the United Mexican Stated of Conformity Assessment of Telecommunications Equipment, and training opportunities for those involved in designating and recognizing laboratories and test report review. This confidence building 18 months is up this November, after which it is expected that the full benefits of the MRA may be operational.
During the month of October, the Office of the Ministry of Economy in Mexico City held a five day training session for stakeholders in the US and Mexico MRA. Training included FCC and IC Rules and Regulations, including the equipment authorization program, and measurement methodologies; and COFETEL Rules and Regulations, including the conformity assessment system. Declarations of Conformities, filings, and the accreditation process were also part of the training sessions.
As an aside, Industry Canada has signed a mutually equivalent agreement with Mexico, providing trilateral recognition of testing facilities whom are recognized and accredited to issue the assessments in all of North America.