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Alleviations to Trade for the Weighing Industry

An agreement about the mutual recognition of tests of weighing instruments has been signed by the Japanese National Research Laboratory of Metrology (NRLM) and the PTB. The agreement eliminates barriers to export between Japan and Germany.

T. Sakurai, Director of the Measurement System Department of the NRLM (on the right), and M. Kochsiek, Vice-president of the PTB, signed the agreement about the mutual recognition of tests of weighing instruments on the occasion of the 34th CIML meeting of the OIML in Tunis in October 1999.

Weighing techniques play an important part in commerce, trade and daily life. This concerns, for example, electronic counter scales in supermarkets and shops, person and domestic scales, postal and luggage weighers, analytical and high-accuracy weighing machines in medical and pharmaceutical laboratories as well as weighing machines to control industrial processes. In order to guarantee fair trading with correct weighing and price calculations and to protect consumers from faulty measurements and fraud, all weighing machines used for commercial or official transactions and measurements or for medical purposes are subject to legal control and need a pattern approval – by PTB, for instance – as a prerequisite for verification.

Mutual recognition of the results of weighing instruments’ tests, as agreed upon by Japan and Germany now, has already been common practice in Europe for many years. Because of the harmonisation of the European internal market, numerous national requirements have been abrogated which had to be met by weighing instruments in former times. As a result, there are only European and no more national pattern approvals today. While Europe has made an important step towards harmonisation in this field, barriers to trade still exist on other significant markets of the world, for example in the USA, due to varying testing provisions. The bilateral agreement between Japan and Germany sets an example for future multilateral agreements to make way for further alleviations to trade for globally acting industries.

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