Mexico - 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: 2021-09-02

Overview

Plans for standards development in Mexico are published annually in a publicly-available standards workplan and the country has a well-established process for notification, public comment, and amendment of standards before they are finalized.

Below we review the government bodies involved in the setting and enforcement of standards, the standards development process, and ways in which U.S. companies can participate in the process.

Standards

The Mexican Government has a prominent role in Mexico’s standards system. The Secretariat of Economy (Secretaría de Economía or SE), through the General Standards Bureau (Dirección General de Normas or DGN), is the organization with the authority to manage and coordinate standards development in Mexico.

Mexico’s new Quality Infrastructure Law (QIL), was published in the Mexican Official Gazette on July 1, 2020 and entered into force on August 31, 2020. The QIL replaces the Federal Law on Metrology and Standardization (LFMN). The Mexican Government has stated it is based on the principles of integrity, transparency, efficiency, international best practices, quality, and traceability.

The law governs standardization, accreditation, conformity assessment, and metrology activities in Mexico and addresses the coordination of metrology activities between the Mexican Government and the private sector.

We encourage U.S. exporters to be familiar with this important law, as it governs Mexico’s standards system and may affect your exports to this market. You can find the QIL (in Spanish) here: Quality Infrastructure Law (ESP).

Two definitions are important to keep in mind:

  1. Official Mexican Standards (Normas Oficiales Mexicanas or NOMs). NOMs are technical regulations, including labeling requirements, issued by government agencies and secretariats. Compliance with NOMs is mandatory. Any bureau, person, or council can propose the creation or modification of a NOM to the appropriate committee.
  2. Mexican Standards (Normas Mexicanas or NMXs). NMXs are voluntary standards issued by recognized national standards-making bodies. Compliance is mandatory only when a claim is made that a product meets the requirements of the NMX, when a NOM specifies compliance with an NMX, and whenever specified in government procurement.

Testing, Inspection and Certification

Certain NOMs require companies to obtain for their product(s) a certificate of compliance issued by an accredited certification body. In the case of products manufactured outside Mexico, this certificate must accompany the import documentation at the port of entry.

All products, processes, methods, installations, services, or activities must comply with applicable NOMs. The QIL established the possibility for private entities to perform the conformity assessment function through visual verification, sampling, measurement, laboratory testing, or documentary examination.

Accredited conformity assessment bodies are classified in the following categories:

  • Certification Bodies
  • Testing Laboratories
  • Calibration Laboratories
  • Verification Units

Under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Mexico recognized conformity assessment bodies in the United States and Canada on terms no less favorable than those applied in Mexico. However, only Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. and Intertek Testing Services NA, Inc. have been accredited.

Based upon agreements with other agencies, as well as with other certification organizations, DGN has established procedures for the certification of products to both technical regulations (NOMs) and voluntary standards (NMXs). Conformity assessment procedures issued by the DGN tend to be more fully developed and cover a significantly greater range of NOMs than those of other secretariats that develop NOMs.

NOM Annex 2.4.1.

On October 1, 2020, the Mexican Government published in its Official Gazette an amendment to Annex 2.4.1. (known as the “NOM Annex”), which identifies the HS codes of imported products subject to compliance with technical regulations (NOMs). This change can be found here (in Spanish): NOM Annex (ESP).

Mexico has 14 labeling and commercial information technical regulations (NOMs):

NOM-004-SCFI-2006; NOM-020-SCFI-1997; NOM-024-CFI-2013; NOM-139-SCFI-2012; NOM-055-SCFI-1994; NOM-084-SCFI-1994; NOM-050-SCFI-2004; NOM-015-SCFI-2007; NOM-003-SSA1-2006; NOM-189-SSA1/SCFI-2002; NOM-187-SSA1/SCFI-2002; NOM-142-SSA1/SCFI 2014; NOM-051-SCFI/SSA1-2010; and NOM-141-SSA1-1995.

A key change to the NOM Annex was the elimination of three exemptions to mandatory compliance with labeling requirements. Prior to October 1, 2020, companies commonly used a non-commercialization letter to claim an exemption to the requirement to demonstrate compliance with one or more of the 14 NOMs.

We encourage U.S. companies to work with their Mexican importer to confirm if their product must comply with mandatory NOM certification.

Product Certification and Accreditation

The Mexican Government authorizes private organizations to accredit conformity assessment bodies (calibration laboratories, certification bodies, testing laboratories, and verification/inspection units). The first authorized entity’s private non-profit institution is the Mexican Accreditation Entity (Entidad Mexicana de Acreditación or EMA).

Calibration Laboratories

Calibration laboratories are responsible for transferring the precision of reference standards to the measurement instruments used in the commercial and industrial sectors. The calibration laboratories can be sponsored by public or private organizations, including universities, professional associations, and private companies. Individuals interested in performing calibration activities can obtain certification after meeting the certification requirements set by law.

Committees, made up of technicians and specialists in metrology, evaluate applications for certification as calibration laboratories. These committees make recommendations to the DGN for final decisions on certification. The committees also establish the technical specifications for the evaluation of calibration laboratories, set the precision requirements for the calibration chains, and set the methods for comparison of standards.

Certification Bodies

EMA has accredited several organizations for certifying compliance in different fields. The accreditation list includes, but it is not limited to, the following organizations:

  • ANCE—Asociación de Normalización y Certificación (Association for Standardization and Certification)
  • CALMECAC—Organismo Nacional de Certificación y Verificación (National Certification and Verification Organization)
  • CNCP—Centro de Normalización y Certificación de Productos, A.C. (Product Standardiation and Certification Center)
  • CRT—Consejo Regulador Del Tequila A.C. (Tequila Regulatory Council)
  • IMNC—Instituto Mexicano De Normalización y Certificación, A.C. (Mexican Institute of Standardization and Certification)
  • INNTEX—Instituto Nacional De Normalización Textil, A.C. (Mexican Institute of Textile Standardization)
  • NORMEX—Sociedad Mexicana de Normalización y Certificación, S.C. (Mexican Society of Standardization and Certification)
  • NYCE—Normalización y Certificación NYCE, S.C. (Standardization and Certification NYCE)
  • ONNCCE—Organismo de Normalización y Certificación de la Construcción y Edificación (Construction and Building Industry Standardization and Certification Organization)
  • UL de México—Underwriters Laboratories de México, S.A. de C.V.
  • Intertek—Intertek Testing Services de México S.A. de C.V.

SE publishes foreign trade rules and general criteria in the DOF, which lists all products by tariff number that must comply with NOMs at the point of entry into Mexico. This document is constantly updated to reflect cancellations or changes in NOMs or the application of new ones.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) ‘Notify U.S.’ Service

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. (www.nist.gov/notifyus) 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 countries and industry sector(s) of interest and can also request full texts of regulations. This service and its associated website are managed and operated by the USA WTO TBT Inquiry Point housed within NIST, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Publication of Technical Regulations

The National Quality Infrastructure Program (PNIC) is the official document used to plan, inform, and coordinate standardization activities, both public and private, carried out by the Mexican Government. The PNIC is published annually by SE in Mexico’s Official Gazette. 

The PNIC describes Mexico’s plans for new NMXs and NOMs, as well as proposed changes to existing standards and technical regulations. This link provides a PDF copy of the PNIC: 2021 Mexico National Standardization Plan.

U.S. entities can participate in this process in several ways:

  • Review the PNIC to learn about proposed standards and technical regulations;
  • Participate in the applicable technical working group (requires physical presence);
  • Submit comments during the public consultation period; and
  • Solicit the creation, modification, or cancellation of Standards and NOMs.

Standards Bodies

The National Quality Infrastructure Commission (Comisión Nacional de Infraestructura de la Calidad or CNIC) is the coordinating body for standards policy at the national level. Currently, the CNIC is comprised of 43 members, including federal agencies, chambers, national standards bodies, and associations related to standardization. The CNIC’s main functions are to approve the National Quality Infrastructure Program, establish the coordination guidelines between agencies and entities at the federal level, prepare and publish standards, resolve any differences between National Standardization Advisory Committees (Comités Consultivos Nacionales de Normalización or CCNNs), and comment on the registration of national standardization bodies.

The National Standardization Technical Committees (Comités Técnicos de Estandarización or CTEs) are bodies recognized by SE and their main function is to create NMXs in those areas where National Standardization bodies do not exist.

The principal Mexican Government entities that develop NOMs include the following:

  • Secretariat of Economy (SE)
  • Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER)
  • Secretariat of Labor and Social Security (STPS)
  • Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT)
  • Secretariat of Tourism (SECTUR)
  • Secretariat of Land and Urban Development (SEDATU)
  • Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT)
  • Secretariat of Energy (SENER)
  • Secretariat of Health (SSA)
  • Secretariat of Interior (SEGOB)
  • Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE)
  • National Industrial Safety and Environmental Protection Agency for the Hydrocarbon Sector (ASEA)

Organizations that develop Standards include:

  • Electrical—Association of Standardization and Certification (ANCE)
  • Quality Systems—Mexican Institute of Standardization and Certification (IMNC)
  • Textiles—Mexican Institute of Textile Standardization (INNTEX)
  • Construction—Building and Construction Standardization and Certification Organization (ONNCCE)
  • Food Products and Quality Systems—Mexican Society of Standardization and Certification (NORMEX)
  • Electronics—Standardization and Certification NYCE
  • Dairy Products—Council for Milk Quality and Dairy Products (COFOCALEC)
  • Steel—National Chamber of the Iron and Steel Industry (CANACERO)

CS Mexico Standards Contacts

Braeden Young

Regional Standards Attache

U.S. Commercial Service—Mexico City

Tel.: +52 (55) 5080-2182

Braeden.Young@trade.gov

 

Sylvia Montaño

Commercial Specialist

U.S. Commercial Service—Mexico City

Tel.: +52 (55) 5080-2000 ext. 5219

Sylvia.Montano@trade.gov