U.S. Conformity Assessment System: FAQ - U.S. Conformity Assessment System
Does the government oversee or manage conformity assessment in the U.S.?
No, the U.S. government does not have central oversight or control over the conformity assessment system. The U.S. system is cooperative in that the public and private sectors participate as partners. In the system, each organization (including some government agencies and companies, retailers, etc.) determines the terms for the conformity assessment work they require.
Are conformity assessment bodies required to be accredited in the U.S.?
It depends. U.S. policy does not require that all conformity assessment bodies be accredited. Testing Laboratories, Certification Bodies, and Inspection Bodies choose whether or not to seek accreditation based on the needs and requirements of their clients (e.g. manufacturers, regulators, consumers, suppliers, etc.).
Who pays for conformity assessment in the U.S.?
The costs for conformity assessment services are usually borne by the manufacturer, or the party who is required to demonstrate compliance. U.S. government regulatory or procurement agencies which choose to administer their own conformity assessment programs use public funding to do so.
Who decides what level of conformity assessment is needed for each industry sector – certification, SDoC, etc.?
The level of conformity assessment required to demonstrate compliance with a government regulation is generally indicated in the regulation. For voluntary standards, the level of conformity assessment required is determined by marketplace demand. Ultimately, providing confidence to users and mitigating risk are the two largest deciding factors in the selection of any one conformity assessment method.
Are there any national policies for conformity assessment in the U.S.?
The U.S. conformity system operates in
a decentralized manner, relying on a variety of tools for each industry sector.
The United States National Conformity Assessment Principles
articulates the principles for U.S. conformity assessment activities that will allow consumers, buyers, sellers,
regulators and other interested parties to have confidence in the processes of
providing conformity assessment, while avoiding the creation of unnecessary
barriers to trade.
Learn more about the United States National Conformity Assessment Principles.
Access policy guidance on Federal Agency use of
U.S. government conformity assessment
activities are addressed in the National
Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (Public Law 104-113) and by the OMB Circular A-119.