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Advocacy - [2021] ITE Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Regulations and their Impact on the Ease of Doing Business

[2021] ITE Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Regulations and their Impact on the Ease of Doing Business

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The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) has published the 2021 Global Benchmark Report, ITE EMC Regulations and their Impact on the Ease of Doing Business, to assess the impact of international electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) regulatory practices that affect information technology equipment (ITE). Focusing on programs worldwide that address non-wireless, non-telecom regulatory requirements for EMC, the report recommends positive steps for governments to identify, prevent, and reduce impediments to trade, manufacturing, and supply chain operations. With inspiration from the World Bank’s annual Doing Business Report, ITI scored 15 countries and the European Union (EU), Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) according to how their EMC regulations for ITE impact the ability to do business for manufacturers seeking to import and sell their products in these markets.

Key Findings

  • Four countries scored a perfect 30 points: Australia, Japan, Morocco, and New Zealand. The EMC programs in these countries feature aspects that are essential for ease of doing business, such as incorporating international standards by reference, including ample transition times, accepting supplier’s declaration of conformity (SDoC), and providing high levels of transparency and predictability.
  • The United States’ 24-point score was impacted by its inclusion of a unique emissions test standard for EMC testing, ANSI C63.4, whereas most countries in the world allow testing to international CISPR 22 and/or CISPR 32 requirements.
  • The EU scored only 22 of 30 points. Although the EMC Directive allows the use of SDoC, EU scores in avoiding obstacles, international standards, and predictability are significantly hampered by systemic concerns around reliance on regional standards, backlogs in the publication of standards granted a presumption of conformity, and regional deviation from widely accepted international standards, including as a result of interventions by Harmonised Standards (HAS) consultants. We encourage the European Commission to review its current policies to ensure that the review of harmonized standards by HAS consultants does not unduly delay their development and publication or create divergences with international standards that could lead to market access barriers.
  • Canada’s EMC scheme scored only 20 points, mainly due to the recent change in their EMC standard that has led to unique limits not aligned with any international standard and an unwillingness to allow continued compliance with the previous issue of the standard that satisfied Canada's legislation on interference causing equipment.
  • The lowest scored countries are Vietnam and South Africa, both of which accrued only 18 of a possible 30 points. Vietnam’s score was significantly impacted by their introduction of new requirements without ample transition times and promulgation of standards that require in-country testing without sufficient lab capacity in place. South Africa’s score is diminished because of a lack of clarity around EMC certificate requirements and the convoluted nature of their certification process.

ITI concludes that the ease of doing business in most countries could be greatly improved by following good regulatory practices, including early and transparent notifications, incorporation of international standards and acceptance of international test reports, adequate transition times, risk-based approaches to regulation and conformity assessment, and avoidance of unjustified impediments that impact trade, manufacturing, and supply chain operations. ITI provides industry recommendations for national policymakers to improve their scores while still achieving their public policy and EMC objectives:

  • Foremost, establish a clear and objective EMC goal and determine whether that goal can best be achieved through regulation or whether other governance approaches may be sufficient.
  • Where regulation is deemed necessary, assess and seek to minimize the impact of the regulatory measure on both market access and on the manufacturers and importers that are subject to the regulation.
  • Pursue regulation in a manner that facilitates trade, investment, and the creation of an open environment for innovative and new technologies and foster competition among the players in the sector, all of which have the desired effect of improving consumer choice and lowering costs.
  • For new equipment approvals, ensure systems allow for adoption of the latest editions of international standards with appropriate transition periods (at least one year in most cases).

To reap the full benefits of trade and investment in IT innovations, countries should choose to forego unique approaches to product EMC, keep regulatory intervention to a minimum, follow good regulatory practices, and not impose unjustified impediments on trade, manufacturing, and supply chain operations. In this way, improving the ease of doing business in a country supports a stable, global regulatory environment that benefits all stakeholders while creating new societal and economic growth opportunities for their citizens who adopt and leverage the innovations created by the tech sector.