Argentina - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Standards

Describes standards, identifies the national standards, accreditation bodies, and lists the national testing organization(s) and conformity assessment bodies.

Last published date: 2021-11-09

Standards Organizations

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).


Standards and Regulations in MERCOSUR

Argentina, as an active MERCOSUR member, participates in the development of MERCOSUR standards and regulations. The MERCOSUR Standards Association (Asociación MERCOSUR de Normalización or AMN, previously known as the Comité MERCOSUR de Normalización), composed of the standards institutes of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, 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 five 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.

Resolution 169/2018 has replaced Resolution 171/16 regarding electrical safety in Argentina and was implemented in 2018. The regulated product scope has remained largely unchanged, and the following products are not within the scope:

  • Medical equipment (now under ANMAT)
  • Products for explosive atmospheres
  • Products less than 50VAC and 75VDC

The following changes were also implemented under the resolution:

  • The importer information is no longer required on the product label or packaging, and only the Consumer Defense Law requirements will be enforced
  • According to Resolution 237/00, the recognition of foreign certificates through MRAs by local bodies and the multilateral agreement of the IECEE CB Scheme allows “S” mark certificates to be issued based on CB certificates.
  • Beginning in 2020, products are certified by the “S” mark scheme (products listed under Annex II of Res. 171/16) or by lot (when appropriate).  Type certification may be authorized for some product types
  • Surveillance terms have been extended to 12 months (type) and 18 months (mark)
  • The Disp. 178/00 (SDU) requirement is removed, and a voluntary procedure was established by TAD
  • Only components and parts for manufacturing or technical service can enter Argentina without restrictions
  • Transfer of certificates has been cited, but the extension of certificates to multiple importers has not been considered and will be re-evaluated

Accreditation

Entities that engage in certification for regulated products must be accredited by the Argentine Accreditation Organization (Organismo Argentino de Acreditación, OAA: http://www.oaa.org.ar/) 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. Resolution 92/98 provided for a phased three-stage implementation, with different dates depending on the product. Phase 1 calls for a sworn declaration of conformity, phase 2 provides for a type certification, and phase 3 requires full third-party certification with mark of conformity.

Contact Information

Argentine and MERCOSUR standards: IRAM, Instituto Argentino de Normalización https://www.iram.org.ar/

MERCOSUR Standards Association AMN, Asociación MERCOSUR de Normalización https://www.amn.org.br/

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.

Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are required under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) to notify to the WTO proposed technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures that could affect trade. Notify U.S. (https://tsapps.nist.gov/notifyus/data/index/index.cfm) is a free, web-based e-mail registration service that captures and makes available for review and comment key information on draft regulations and conformity assessment procedures. Users receive customized e-mail alerts when new notifications are added by selected country or countries and industry sector(s) of interest and can also request full texts of regulations. This service and its associated web site are managed and operated by the USA WTO TBT Inquiry Point housed within the National Institute of Standards and Technology, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.