The Costa Rican Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC) is responsible for the development and implementation of standards and regulations that local and foreign companies must follow to sell their products in the local market. These regulations are mostly related to labeling, usage instructions and open competition. They also issue safety related regulations.
The Costa Rican government accepts U.S. commercial and product standards. An accreditation system has not been implemented in Costa Rica due to the lack of adequate laboratory equipment and funding. In some cases, U.S. and domestic companies doing business in Costa Rica use the International Standards Organization (ISO) designation in their promotional campaigns.
As of March 2021, The Technical Standards Institute of Costa Rica (INTECO) who represents ISO in Costa Rica, reported that 98 companies have been granted ISO 14001 certification for environmental responsibility. Certified companies currently include banana producers, hotel operators in ecologically sensitive areas and other agribusinesses. INTECO also reported that 316 companies have met ISO 9001 requirements of quality management, 98 are certified with ISO 18001 in information technology and 223 are certified with ISO 22000 in Food safety management systems. Certification to ISO standards is voluntary. The Government of Costa Rica does not require that foreign companies must be certified with ISO (9000 and 14000) standards to export to Costa Rica.
The Instituto de Normas Tecnicas de Costa Rica (INTECO) is an independent association that was started in 1987. It is a private, non-profit body with representatives from the public and private sectors of the Costa Rican economy.
INTECO seeks to consistently improve standards-related activities with the goal of promoting the quality of goods and services manufactured or offered for sale within the country.
The Government of the Republic recognizes INTECO as the National Standards Body. INTECO began quality system registration activities in 1995, under an agreement with AENOR. In 1999, INTECO introduced environmental management system registration, also under agreement with AENOR. The product certification service is offered to INTECO’s clients independently.
The Instituto de Normas Tecnicas (INTECO) is the only entity accredited in Costa Rica that can certify that companies are following standards-related requirements:
San Pedro, Montes de Oca, Barrio Gonzalez Flores, de Muñoz y Nanne 400 Mts. Norte, contiguo al Laboratorio de Materiales de la Universidad de Costa Rica.
P.O. Box 10004-1000
San Jose, Costa Rica
Phone: (506) 2283-4522
Fax: (506) 2283-4831
The Costa Rican organization in charge of accreditation of entities is the Costa Rican Accreditation Entity (ECA). The ECA’s website contains a page showing the full list of Costa Rican testing organizations accredited by them. ECA is a non-state public entity and the accreditations issued by them to have a national level. They accredit the areas of testing and calibration in laboratories, clinical laboratories, inspection bodies, certification bodies and greenhouse gas verification bodies.
The Costa Rican Ministry of Health is responsible for the registration and authorization of import permits for food products, chemical products, cosmetics, vitamin supplements, drugs and other pharmaceutical products imported into Costa Rica. The Costa Rican Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) is responsible for the registration and authorization of import permits for fertilizers and agricultural products imported into the country. These ministries’ addresses are:
The Costa Rican Ministry of Science and Technology (MICIT) is the government agency that provides accreditation services to testing laboratories, calibration laboratories, inspection bodies, certification bodies and clinical laboratories, through Costa Rican Accreditation Entity (ECA), the standards certifying organization in Costa Rica.
Publication of Technical Regulations
Official technical regulations are published in the Government of Costa Rica journal, La Gaceta. Both proposed and final regulations are announced in this publication. U.S. companies interested in commenting on proposed regulations should have a representative in the country with the ability to keep the U.S. company informed of any new regulations proposed by the government. La Gaceta is part of the National Printing Office (Imprenta Nacional).
Ricardo Cardona - Senior Commercial Specialist
Víctor González – Senior Agricultural Specialist;
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 World Trade Organization (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. This guidance is provided to assist U.S. stakeholders in the preparation and submission of comments in response to notifications of proposed foreign technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures.