The Brazilian Committee of Electricity, Electronics, Lighting and Telecommunication (COBEI) is temporally suspended from the IECEE CB Scheme. The suspension includes Brazil’s national certification bodies—TÜV Rheinland do Brasil Ltda, Division UCIEE and NCC Certificações do Brasil; and associated testing laboratories. In reporting the incident to IECEE Members, the IECEE Executive Secretary, Mr. Pierre de Ruvo, stated that the basis for suspension was for infringement of the IECEE Basic Rules. This is the first instance where the IECEE have suspended an IECEE Member.
The IECEE CB Scheme is an international cooperation between sixty-five national certification bodies with 244 testing laboratories located in fifty participating countries. It is one of two globally recognized schemes based on the principal of mutual recognition of test results for obtaining national safety certification of electrical equipment and components in the participating countries. Participation of the various national certification bodies within the Scheme is based on the principle of mutual recognition (reciprocal acceptance) by its members of test results for obtaining certification or approval at national level.
At the heart of the matter is Brazil’s regulatory authority— the National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology (INMETRO) which is responsible for accreditation of testing laboratories and certification bodies. It is a signatory to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation Mutual Recognition Agreement (ILAC MRA) between national accreditation bodies intended to foster the acceptance of calibration certificates and test reports issued by laboratories accredited by them. As a way of further strengthening the ILAC MRA, INMETRO imposed requirements that prevent the acceptance of IECEE CB Test Certificates and associated Test Reports by Brazilian Certification Bodies that are members of the IECEE unless it can be shown that the test results come from a testing laboratory accredited by INMETRO or an Accreditation Body that is a signatory of the ILAC MRA. This requirement is not in line with the requirements of the IECEE which is based on a Peer Assessment System between Members of the IECEE CB Scheme.
Despite their best efforts, negotiations between the IECEE and COBEI failed to produce a resolution that would have enabled national certification bodies in Brazil to accept IECEE CB Test Certificates and Test Results. While the failure has added to the uncertainty surrounding market entry of electrical products into Brazil, for the most part they remain unaffected. The real and unintended harm has come at the expense of Brazilian manufacturers exporting products using the IECEE CB Scheme. The suspension prevents IECEE Members from accepting Test Certificates and Test Reports from Brazil.