Describes standards, identifies the national standards, accreditation bodies, and lists the national testing organization(s) and conformity assessment bodies.
There are two private sector organizations that work under the National System for Standards, Quality, and Certification. The Argentine Standards Institute (Instituto Argentino de Normalización or IRAM) is the official Argentine standards body. The Argentine Accreditation Organization (Organismo Argentino de Acreditación or OAA) is the accreditation body. These are the only organizations that carry out standardization and accreditation in Argentina. As of May 2013, there are mutual recognition agreements between major foreign certification organizations and IRAM. However, it is recommended that exporters check the current status of these agreements prior to initiating new business arrangements or sending a significant shipment of goods that require IRAM certification.
Agricultural and Health-Related Products
Agricultural and health-related products are subject to specific and different voluntary standards and mandatory technical regulations. Medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and foods are the purview of the National Administration of Drugs, Foods, and Medical Devices (Administración Nacional de Medicamentos, Alimentos y Tecnologia Medica or ANMAT) at http://www.anmat.gob.ar/webanmat/institucional/que_es_la_ANMAT_en.asp
Standards and Regulations in MERCOSUR
Argentina, as an active MERCOSUR member, participates in the development of MERCOSUR standards and regulations. The MERCOSUR Standards AssociationAsociación MERCOSUR de Normalización or AMN, (previously known as the Comité MERCOSUR de Normalización), is composed of the standards institutes of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay and develops and harmonizes regional standards. The Executive Secretariat of the AMN is located in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Voluntary standards are developed in 16 technical committees and deal mostly with steel products, cement and concrete, and electrical safety. Several hundred standards are at different stages of preparation or in a work plan.
Regional technical regulations are developed and/or harmonized by MERCOSUR governments in Sub Working Group 3 in the following fields: automotive, foods, metrology, safety issues for electrical products, toys, and pre-measured products. Separate working groups, such as those on telecommunications and health issues, also focus on mandatory technical requirements for their particular sectors. Approved MERCOSUR regulations are not automatically applicable in each country. To be applicable, harmonized MERCOSUR regulations must be adopted by each country. The four countries generally adopt all MERCOSUR regulations, though at different speeds.
Testing, Inspection and Certification
Mandatory Testing and Mandatory Product Certification
Regulated products must display an official safety “S” mark to show they conform to the regulations. However, as described above and due to implementation issues, it is difficult to state with certainty at this time the products that must be tested, certified, and marked as required by the resolutions. Customs agents, freight forwarders, chambers of commerce and industry, and trade associations may be useful resources to obtain information on requirements for specific products.
Non-Mandatory Testing and Product Certification
There is no legal mandate to retest non-regulated products that have been approved in their country of origin. For non-regulated products, some U.S. trademarks and product certifications are well known and accepted in Argentina. As with standards, any certification that may be required for non-regulated sectors is a contractual matter to be decided between the buyer and the seller. However, it is important to be aware that market conditions and preferences may impose the use of particular standards, certification, or trademarks.
Traditionally, product certification in Argentina has been mostly voluntary with few active organizations including IRAM. However, this has changed due to the partial implementation of regulations that mandate product certification. A number of U.S. certification bodies are now active in Argentina, along with several multinationals and new local entities.
The National Institute of Industrial Technology (Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Industrial or INTI), is a government agency that participates in standards development and performs product testing and certification. Due to the continuing shortage of independent laboratories in Argentina, INTI is viewed as a prime testing and calibration laboratory for the country.
To facilitate acceptance of U.S. products in the Argentine market, agreements between U.S. and local certifiers and testing houses are encouraged. This could provide recognition of existing certifications. Also, there is no impediment for U.S. certification organizations to be established and accredited in Argentina.
Entities that engage in certification for regulated products must be accredited by the Argentine Accreditation Organization (Organismo Argentino de Acreditación) and recognized by the Argentine government. Testing laboratories must be similarly accredited and recognized.
Publication of Technical Regulations
Low-voltage electrical equipment was the first product category subjected to safety regulations and mandatory certification (Resolution 92/98). Regulations have also been issued for toys, shoes, gas appliances and products, construction steel, elevators, energy consumption and noise labeling of appliances, closures for dangerous products, and personal protective equipment. Since late 1999, efforts have been concentrated on implementation rather than in adding new categories of products under safety regulations.
Most electrical and electronic products in the consumer marketplace are still subject to this regulation (English). Evidence of compliance with the regulation is mandatory through product certification.
Argentine and MERCOSUR standards: IRAM
MERCOSUR Standards Association: Asociación MERCOSUR de Normalización (AMN)
For medical products: Administración Nacional de Medicamentos, Alimentos y Tecnología Médica (ANMAT) (English): http://www.anmat.gob.ar/webanmat/institucional/que_es_la_ANMAT_en.asp
Use ePing to review proposed technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures
The ePing SPS&TBT platform (https://epingalert.org/), or “ePing”, provides access to notifications made by WTO Members under the Agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), distributed by the WTO from January 16, 1995 to present. ePing is available to all stakeholders free of charge and does not require registration unless the user wishes to receive customized e-mail alerts. Use it to browse notifications on past as well as new draft and updated product regulations, food safety and animal and plant health standards and regulations, find information on trade concerns discussed in the WTO SPS and TBT Committees, locate information on SPS/TBT Enquiry Points and notification authorities, and to follow and review current and past notifications concerning regulatory actions on products, packaging, labeling, food safety and animal and plant health measures in markets of interest.
Notify U.S., operated and maintained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) since 2003 to distribute and provide access to notifications (and associated draft texts) made under the WTO TBT Agreement for US stakeholders, has reached its end of life. Per obligation under the TBT Agreement, each WTO Member operates a national TBT (and an SPS) Enquiry Point. National TBT Enquiry Points are authorized to accept comments and official communications from other national TBT Enquiry Points, which are NOT part of the WTO or the WTO Secretariat. All comment submissions from U.S. stakeholders, including businesses, trade associations, U.S domiciled standards development organizations and conformity assessment bodies, consumers, or U.S. government agencies on notifications to the WTO TBT Committee should be sent directly to the USA WTO TBT Inquiry Point. Refer to the comment guidance at https://tsapps.nist.gov/notifyus/data/guidance/guidance.cfm for further information.