International Accreditation Forum (IAF)

writer:China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment time:2012-12-14
  International Accreditation Forum, Inc. (IAF) is the world association of Conformity Assessment Accreditation Bodies and other bodies interested in conformity assessment in the fields of management systems, products, services, personnel and other similar programmes of conformity assessment. Its primary function 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. Accreditation assures users of the competence and impartiality of the body accredited. IAF members accredit certification or registration bodies that issue certificates attesting that an organisation’s management, products or personnel comply with a specified standard (called conformity assessment).
  The primary purpose of IAF is two-fold. Firstly, to ensure that its accreditation body members only accredit bodies that are competent to do the work they undertake and are not subject to conflicts of interest. The second purpose of the IAF is to establish mutual recognition arrangements, known as Multilateral Recognition Arrangements (MLA), between its accreditation body members which reduces risk to business and its customers by ensuring that an accredited certificate may be relied upon anywhere in the world. The MLA contributes to the freedom of world trade by eliminating technical barriers to trade. IAF works to find the most effective way of achieving a single system that will allow companies with an accredited conformity assessment certificate in one part of the world, to have that certificate recognised else where in the world. The objective of the MLA is that it will cover all accreditation bodies in all countries in the world, thus eliminating the need for suppliers of products or services to be certified in each country where they sell their products or services. Certified once - accepted everywhere.
  The members of IAF are mainly classified into accreditation body members, association members, regional accreditation groups, observer members.
  IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA)
  The primary objective of conformity assessment is to give its users confidence that requirements applicable to products, services, systems, processes and materials have been met.
  One purpose of the IAF MLA is to provide users in countries with accreditation bodies, which are IAF MLA members, assurance that equivalent certification/registration bodies in other countries operate to the same standard as those in their own country. International experts subject IAF MLA members to rigorous operational evaluations before and during their MLA membership to ensure that the high standards of the IAF are maintained.
  Accreditations granted by IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) accreditation body members are recognised worldwide based on their equivalent accreditation programmes, therefore reducing costs and adding value to industry and consumers. Certificates in the fields of management systems, products, services, personnel and other similar programmes of conformity assessment issued by bodies accredited by IAF MLA members are therefore relied upon in international trade. Without international standards, technical barriers to trade would result in increased costs for importers and consumers, reduced competition and different standards of a product or service.
  Participation of China in IAF Activities
  On January 1994, representatives from China participated in the meeting of IAF.
  On June 1995, the former China National Accreditation Council for Registrars (CNACR) signed IAF Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as one of prima signatories.
  On January 1998, accreditation bodies from 16 countries signed IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement for Quality Management System (QMS), including CNACR which is the only accreditation body from developing country.
  On October 1998, the former China National Accreditation Board for Import & Export Enterprises (CNAB) signed IAF MLA for QMS.
  On October 2004, the former China National Accreditation Board for Certifiers (CNAB) signed IAF MLA for Environment Management System (EMS).
  At present, CNAS has replaced the position of the former CNAB as full member and MLA signatory for QMS and EMS in ILAC.
  For more information about ILAC, please visit IAF website: or contact IAF Secretariat:
  Address:#1801 – 2 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra City, ACT 2601, Australia.
  Tel:: +61 (2) 6257 1962 Fax: +61 (2) 6222 2761