Annual Meeting of the WG on Accreditation and Conformity Assessment


On 17 November 2021, the Working Group on Accreditation and Conformity Assessment (WGACA) met under the chairmanship of the Head of Division Dr Arne Höll (German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy - BMWi) and the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the P.R. China (CNCA). The meeting focused on the continuation of the successful cooperation regarding conformity assessment of explosion-proof electronic products. Furthermore, the participants discussed challenges that conformity assessment faces in an increasingly digitalised global economy.

Dr Arne Höll (BMWi, bottom) and Hao Xin (CNCA, top) at the Annual Meeting of the WG on Accreditation and Conformity Assessment (WGACA).
Dr Arne Höll (BMWi, bottom) and Hao Xin (CNCA, top) at the Annual Meeting of the WG on Accreditation and Conformity Assessment (WGACA). © GIZ-GPQI

Representatives from BMWi, CNCA, subordinate authorities as well as experts and business representatives met in a three-hour virtual session. They presented the results achieved throughout the last year and planned steps for future cooperation.


Within the framework of the cooperation on conformity assessment of explosion-proof electrical equipment agreed in 2019, many activities have taken place in 2021. They were implemented by GPQI and BMWi together with CNCA, the Chinese certification body China Quality Mark Certification Group (CQM) and the German industry.


German manufacturers had various questions on the scope and implementation of the CCC certification requirements for electrical products in the field of explosion protection (CCC Ex). The activities contributed to the clarification of the questions raised by the manufacturers. The CCC Ex regulation was published in 2019 and came into force in October 2020. One year later, in autumn 2021, several changes regarding scope and certification procedures were announced. Therefore, further exchanges between authorities and the German business community are planned for the next year.


Main focus of future cooperation

During the Annual Meeting, the participants analysed potential new topics of cooperation. Both sides agreed that an early exchange on the topic of circular economy and the implications it might have for conformity assessment is important. This exchange is to be initiated in 2022. With digitalisation, the requirements for conformity assessment are also changing. The cooperation must address this aspect as well. Representatives of the technical institutes and companies are to further exchange views on this in a timely manner.


In summer 2021, during a technical exchange, the national accreditation bodies Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle (DAkkS) and China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS) discussed the applicability and future role of remote assessments within the scope of accreditation. Meanwhile, on both sides, hybrid models are increasingly becoming an integral part of accreditation. In hybrid assessments, one assessor is usually on-site at the institution being assessed. In addition, one or more reviewers participate via video conferencing tools to support. The latter are often more specialised in a particular technical area. These and other topics will be discussed further within the next year.


BMWi and CNCA have been working closely together since 2013. Since June 2019, this cooperation has been based on a Memorandum of Understanding. The WGACA is part of the dialogues of the Global Project Quality Infrastructure (GPQI). With GPQI, BMWi offers representatives from business, quality infrastructure institutions and governments a platform for technical policy dialogues on international rules and standards with important partners worldwide. Its aim is to create better framework conditions for business and trade with an efficient quality infrastructure.


Silke Sichter (ZVEI, top left), Alexander Perdoni (DAkkS, top right), Nicole Stahl (BMWi, bottom right) and Pia Kathöfer (TÜV Rheinland, bottom left) of the WG on Accreditation and Conformity Assessment are planning the further cooperation. © GIZ-GPQI

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