Nicaragua - Country Commercial Guide
Standards for Trade

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

Last published date: 2021-09-26

Overview

The Technical Barriers to Trade Chapter of CAFTA-DR requires that Nicaragua build on the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade to promote transparency, accountability, and cooperation on standards and regulatory issues.  The Ministry of Development, Industry, and Trade leads government efforts to develop standards under the CAFTA-DR guidance.  It is primarily a top-down government-driven approach.  Under the current political environment, business input is not considered by the government, although private sector members sit on a National Standards and Quality Commission (https://www.mific.gob.ni/Comercio-Interior/Normalizaci%C3%B3n-y-Metrolog%C3%ADa/Comisi%C3%B3n-Nacional-de-Normalizaci%C3%B3n).  Implementation is arbitrary and capricious, in particular by customs officials. 

Standards

The Technical Standards and Quality Law establishes a National Standards and Quality Commission, including public and private sector members, to develop standards and regulations.  The Ministry of Development, Industry, and Trade serves as secretariat for the Commission.  The Ministry of Development, Industry, and Trade’s Normalization and Metrology Department (https://www.mific.gob.ni/Comercio-Interior/Normalizaci%C3%B3n-y-Metrolog%C3%ADa/Comisi%C3%B3n-Nacional-de-Normalizaci%C3%B3n) is in charge of managing and supervising the work of standardization and regulation at the national level.   

Testing, Inspection, and Certification

The Technical Barriers to Trade Chapter of CAFTA-DR requires that Nicaragua recognize conformity assessment bodies located in the United States on terms equivalent to those located in Nicaragua.  The accredited Conformity Assessment System is made up of 16 test laboratories, two calibration laboratories, and three inspection bodies.

Publication of Technical Regulations

The Technical Standards and Quality Law (1996/219) establishes the Ministry of Development, Industry and Trade, National Accreditation Office, as the government entity responsible for accrediting standards certifying organizations.  Nicaragua is a signatory of multilateral recognition agreements with the Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC) and with the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) for the testing laboratory scheme and Inspection Bodies.

The Ministry of Development, Industry, and Trade, and the Normalization and Metrology Office publishes Obligatory Nicaraguan Technical Standards as well as Standards Subject to Public Consultation.  The National Standards and Quality Commission (https://www.mific.gob.ni/Comercio-Interior/Normalizaci%C3%B3n-y-Metrolog%C3%ADa/Comisi%C3%B3n-Nacional-de-Normalizaci%C3%B3n )is the coordinating body for policies and programs in of technical standardization.  Representatives of non-governmental organizations are appointed by the President.

Public consultation of Nicaraguan standards and technical regulations last for 60 days as established by Nicaraguan regulations (https://www.mific.gob.ni/Comercio-Interior/Normalizaci%C3%B3n-y-Metrolog%C3%ADa/Normas-en-Consulta-P%C3%BAblica), however at the request of national or foreign stakeholders the period can be extended up to 30 more days.  The Information and Notification Office is responsible for putting into practice the transparency provisions contained in the Technical Barriers to Trade and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreements and current national legislation.  It publishes public consultations and receives and processes the observations of interested parties.

Contact Information

U.S. companies can contact the following offices from the Ministry of Development, Industry, and Trade:

National Accreditation Office
+505 2248-9300 ext. 1325
agutierrez@mific.gob.ni

Standards and Metrology Office
+505 2248-9300 ext. 1310/1311
dsaavedra@mific.gob.ni or normalizacion@mific.gob.ni

CODEX Alimentarius Point of Contact
+505 2248-9300 ext. 1314
codex@mific.gob.ni  or normalizacion@mific.gob.ni

Information Center on Technical Barriers to Trade
+505 2248-9300 ext. 1314
imartinez@mific.gob.ni, notificacion@mific.gob.ni, or normalizacion@mific.gob.ni

U.S. companies can also contact the Economic Section at the U.S. Embassy in Managua:

505-2252 7100

ManaguaECON@state.gov

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration employs an expert in standards responsible for Latin America.  This expert is based in Mexico City:

Commercial Officer/Standards Attaché
Office of Standards Liaison for Canada, the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico
+52-55-5140-2603

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. 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.