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India - Singapore agree common testing standards

Telecom equipment made in India and Singapore should have easier entry in each others markets as the two sides agree a deal that will eliminate the need for product testing and certification in both countries.

Officials from both countries have agreed the details of a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA). The MRA is part of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) the two countries signed in June 2005.

The implementation of the MRA will abolish the need for testing and certification in both countries. In its place, certification by an agency of one country will be accepted by the other. This will give easier access to companies to sell telecom and electronic products such as mobile handsets. The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore and the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) of India will be the technical certifying bodies.

This means once products made in India are certified by the TEC for selling in Singapore, the IDA will not have to certify that the items adhere to local standards and regulations. Both the countries will benefit with this arrangement since it leads to cost reduction as well as faster and easier access for companies wanting to tap the market. Singapore is one of India's key trading partners in South-East Asia.

The agreement is expected to provide a major boost for the telecom manufacturing sector in India as products made in the country would now be acceptable in one of the most highly developed electronics market in the Asia Pacific.  India's telecom equipment and component manufacturing industry is already expanding. The removal of duplicate testing will open up bigger markets for manufacturers.

The agreement also marks a big achievement for TEC which has so far the technical certifying authority for equipment used in public sector companies like BSNL, MTNL and ITI. After the pact with Singapore, TEC will be an internationally recognised testing and certifying body.

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