Decree 2153 of 1992 defined the Colombian standards regime’s legal framework. Decree 2153 modified the structure of the Superintendent of Industry and Commerce (SIC), and along with Decree 2269 of 1993, created the National Standardization, Certification, and Metrology System (SNNCM). The latter decree designated the Colombian Institute of Technical Standards and Certification (ICONTEC) as the main standards development organization and SIC as the national accreditation organization.
Colombia further revised its standards regime following its accession to the World Trade Organization (Law 170 of 1994). Colombia joined the Group of Three (G-3) Trade Agreement between Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela (Law 172 of 1994), and enacted Andean Community Decision 376 of 1995, which created the Andean Standardization, Accreditation, Assays, Certification, Technical Regulations, and Metrology System.
On February 3, 2010, per Decree 323 of 2010, the accreditation role was transferred from SIC to the Colombian National Accreditation Organization (ONAC), created by Decree 4738 of 2008, and therefore, eliminated the provisions of Decree 2269 of 1993 and Decree 2153 of 1992.
The Colombian Standards and Certification Institute (ICONTEC) is a private-sector organization created in 1963. The SIC has also accredited ICONTEC for product certification, quality assurance, and environmental systems certification.
ICONTEC’s principal aim is to promote the development of technical standards, quality assurance, and product certification, and is Colombia’s national standardization institute. They are members of the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electro-Technical Commission (IEC). ICONTEC is a founding member of the Pan-American Technical Standards Commission (COPANT) and a member of the Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC), the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), and IQNet, an international association of national quality assurance certification entities.
ICONTEC is also recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the German Accreditation Association (TGA), the Chilean National Standardization Institute (INN), and the Peruvian standardization institute (INDECOPI). ICONTEC has offices in Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, and Peru.
ICONTEC’s technical standards development committees cover a wide range of issues and topics on metrology, occupational health, air, soil and water quality, solid waste, bar codes, conformity assessment, geographic information, environmental assessments, food and vegetable standards, and construction products, among others. For a complete standards development committee list, please visit ICONTEC’s Technical Committees webpage.
Testing, Inspection, and Certification
On November 20, 2007, the Ministry of Foreign Trade enacted the creation of Colombia’s National Accreditation Organization (ONAC) as a public-private organization following the guidelines of the National Quality Policy and with the aim to allow international recognition of the country’s conformity assessment certificates, including laboratory testing and calibration certificates in accordance with ISO/IEC 17011 standards. Per Decrees 4738 and 3257 of 2008, ONAC accredits and supervises the certification entities, as well as testing and calibration laboratories, a task previously assigned to the SIC, through the Delegated Superintendent for Consumer Protection (SDPC).
Product Certification and Accreditation
Manufacturers and importers of products regulated by technical standards or technical regulations must obtain a certificate of conformity from accredited certification entities. ONAC accepts certificates issued by accredited certification entities, such as members of the IAF multilateral agreement, the Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC), and has signed mutual recognition agreements under the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC). Government must notify the World Trade Organization (WTO) of the development and implementation of technical regulations to allow all member countries and private companies to review and comment on the proposed regulations to avoid them becoming a technical barrier to trade.
ONAC accredits a wide variety of entities under several accreditation arrangements like testing and calibration laboratories, digital certification, electrical and natural gas installation inspection service entities, metrology and verification services, product certification (HVAC, electrical products and installations, lighting products and control devices, electric motors, transformers, solar panels, toys, industrial and medicinal gas cylinders, clinical laboratories, steel rebar, pneumatic tires, electric and gas-fired household appliances, CNG systems, management certification systems, motor vehicle diagnostic centers). U.S. manufacturers must confirm their compliance to Colombian technical regulations before promoting their products in the market. The complete listing is available in: https://onac.org.co/directorio-de-acreditados
The National Institute for Food and Medicine Vigilance (INVIMA) oversees the National Sanitary Surveillance System and is the responsible organization regarding the accreditation of sanitary, biological products, medicines, food, beverage, cosmetics, and medical devices and products related to human health requirements.
Publication of Technical Regulations
The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism’s (MinCIT) Regulations Directorate is the WTO point of contact for TBT draft technical regulations, and upcoming Colombian notifications on TBT and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) regulations. This group verifies compliance (and coordinates) with the WTO TBT Agreement, the SPS Agreement, and compliance with conformity assessment procedures and maintains an information system concerning national or foreign technical regulations, among other related matters.
Use ePing to review proposed technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures
The ePing SPS&TBT platform, 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.