El Salvador - Country Commercial Guide
Standards for Trade
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El Salvador is a “standards taker” and not a “standards maker.” Many products made in the U.S. already meet El Salvador’s standards. The main area of difference is items for human consumption, such as pharmaceuticals and food. In El Salvador, registration and labeling requirements for these cases require U.S. exporters to follow strict local guidelines.

The United States actively serves as a resource to assist El Salvador in developing or streamlining standards. The objectives of Chapter 7 (Technical Barriers to Trade) in the CAFTA-DR agreement are to increase and facilitate trade through improvement to the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) agreement, eliminate unnecessary barriers, and enhance bilateral cooperation.


The Salvadoran Standardization Organization (OSN) and the Salvadoran Technical Regulation Organization (OSARTEC) are responsible for standards in El Salvador. Both institutions fall under the National Quality Council, which was created in 2011 with the approval of the Quality Salvadoran System Law.

The Quality Salvadoran System Law regulates the study, development, and application of standards; accreditation, technical regulation, and metrology; develops the capacity of professionals; and strengthens the material, financial, and human resources of the entities responsible for quality topics in the country.

The head of the Quality Salvadoran System is the Quality National Council, which includes four specialized organizations: the Salvadoran Standardization Organization (OSN), Salvadoran Technical Regulation Organization (OSARTEC), and Salvadoran Accreditation Organization (OSA); and Metrology Investigation Center (CIM). In addition, there is the Administrative Office of the Salvadoran Quality System (OAC).

The OSN is responsible for:

  • Drafting, updating, adapting, and disseminating standards that seek to improve the quality of the products, processes, and services; and coordinating the drafting, adoption, and adjustment of standards through technical committees.
  • Contributing to and participating in the development of national and international standards.
  • Developing a national standards program that the Quality National Council will approve.
  • Promoting the creation of standards technical committees and sub-committees for developing standards.
  • Representing El Salvador in regional or international standard organizations.
  • Maintaining, updating, and making available for the public a database of standards implemented in the drafting process in El Salvador.
  • Enforcing the application of technical standards in all sectors.

The OSARTEC is responsible for:

  • Observing and complying with international guidelines and commitments of El Salvador on technical regulations
  • Submitting comments from public or international consultations to the appropriate institution.
  • Being aware of the different institutions’ annual plans on technical regulations.
  • Verifying that all technical regulations go through public or international consultation.
  • Keeping an updated database of Salvadoran technical regulations approved or in process.
  • Informing the WTO of any technical trade barrier and/or sanitary or phytosanitary technical regulation projects.
  • Acting as the coordinator and point of contact in El Salvador at the CODEX Alimentarius Commission or any other international organization.

The CIM is responsible for:

  • Acting as the scientific, industrial, and legal metrology in El Salvador.
  • Performing international functions assigned to the National Metrology Institute
  • Organizing a national metrology system according to the International System of Units.
  • Calibrating scales, volumes, and temperatures.

El Salvador is a member of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) and has adopted the Code of Good Practice annexed to the TBT Agreement.

There are two types of standards in Salvadoran legislation: Mandatory Salvadoran Standards (NSO), known as Technical Regulations, and recommended Salvadoran Standards (NSR), known as Technical Standards. NSOs are mandatory standards, primarily for products affecting human conditions, and are based on international, regional, or foreign standards. NSRs are recommended standards that follow ISO standards and are not independently created by the government of El Salvador. NSOs include the following standards: the International System of Units, standards relating to materials, procedures, products, and services that may affect human life, standards on the safety and integrity of other live organisms, environmental protection standards, product registration, labeling, manufacturing practices and standards considered by the government to be relevant to the economy or in the public interest. The NSR process includes national consultation and only needs approval by the OSN Directive Commission.

These committees adopt international standards; consequently, local standards organizations are more “takers” than “makers.” ISO is the first reference used; others, including Pan-American Commission on Technical Standards (COPANT) and CODEX Alimentarius Commission, are also consulted. El Salvador has an agreement with the American Standards Testing and Materials (ASTM) and a memorandum of understanding with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) to share information on standards. Representatives of related organizations in El Salvador have received training from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Testing, Inspection, and Certification

The product certification process requires the establishment of a Certification Technical Committee, which includes representatives of the manufacturing sector, government, consumers, and academia. Product certification programs comply with international standards/ISO certification process. For additional information, please visit the ISO/IEC 65 Guide.

Publication of Technical Regulations

Proposed Central America Technical Regulations (RTCAs) are published in major newspapers. The WTO and Central American Secretaries for Economic Integration are notified. However, notifications are not submitted promptly. Final RTCAs are published in the Official Journal (Diario Oficial). The formation of standards drafting committees is announced in newspapers for interested parties to participate.

The Law to Improve Regulations (IRL) entered into force in El Salvador in April 2019. The law seeks to develop clear rules, procedures, and simplified services; and will require government institutions to submit a regulatory agenda in the first quarter of every year to the Regulatory Improvement Organism (OMR), a regulatory entity within the Office of the President of El Salvador. The implementation of the law is gradual; the institutions under the executive branch were responsible for publishing their Regulatory Agendas in 2020.  As of March 2023, the OMR received 100 regulatory agendas: from the 16 ministries, 11 presented their agendas; from 71 autonomous entities, 46 presented their agendas; from 6 constitutional entities, 3 submitted agendas; and from 262 municipalities, 40 presented their agendas. Central American Technical Regulations (RTCAs) are excluded from the law as they fall within the exceptions stated in Art. 7, which includes free trade agreements, international agreements, and international conventions. Nevertheless, Salvadoran technical regulations are subject to the new law.

El Salvador does not have a centralized port for public consultation. Many regulations are approved with limited to no public consultation.

The Legislative Assembly does not publish draft legislation on its website and does not have a standardized means of providing notice and soliciting comments on pending legislation. 

Contact Information

Organismo Salvadoreño de Reglamentación Técnica (OSARTEC) (Salvadoran Organism for Technical Regulations)

Boulevard San Bartolo y Calle Lempa, costado norte de INSAFORP. Edificio CNC

Ilopango, San Salvador, El Salvador.

Tel. +503 2590-5300



Organismo Salvadoreño de Normalización (SON) (Salvadoran Standarization Organization)

Boulevard San Bartolo y Calle Lempa, costado norte de INSAFORP. Edificio CNC

Ilopango, San Salvador, El Salvador.

Tel. +503 2590-5300




Standards Attaché for Mexico & Central America

Lauren Caughlin


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.