Brazil - Commercial Guide
Standards for Trade

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

Last published date: 2019-10-13

Brazil has a strong regulatory regime, strict rules regarding standards, and an active cohort of standards organizations. INMETRO is a government entity and is the operating arm of Brazil’s standards regime, led by the CONMETRO. The council is formed by a group of eight ministries and five governmental agencies. The Council is the regulatory body of the SINMETRO. More information about the Council can be found at the website. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) also has Brazil-related standards information via its Standards Portal.

Standards
INMETRO is the main national accreditation body and is in charge of implementing the national policies regarding quality and metrology established by CONMETRO, which oversees INMETRO’s activities. INMETRO is responsible for certification of products, services, licensing, and testing labs, among other duties.

Created in 1940, the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards (ABNT) is the recognized standards organization which establishes and manages marks of conformity with standards applied in voluntary or compulsory product certification schemes. ABNT is an accredited registration body to certify quality systems, environmental management systems and several products. They develop standards, and reference ISO and IEC standards, and sometimes, U.S. developed international standards. Several U.S. Standards Development Organizations have MOU’s with ABNT for cooperation.

When the need for standardization of a given topic arises, ABNT refers the matter to the responsible Technical Committee, where it will be considered by the various sectors involved. Once the Draft Standard has been prepared, it is then submitted for national consultation. In this process, the Draft Standard, prepared by a Study Committee representing the stakeholders and sectors involved, is submitted publicly for consideration. During this period, any interested party may express, without any burden, recommendations to the Study Group to authorize the approval of the text as presented; approve of the text with suggestions; or its non-approval, though the interested party must present the technical objections and justification.

Testing, Inspection and Certification
Conformity assessment includes all activities needed to demonstrate compliance with specified requirements relating to a technical regulation or voluntary standard. In Brazil, the conformity assessment system follows ISO guidelines. Conformity assessment includes test and calibration laboratories, product certification bodies, accreditation bodies, inspection and verification units, quality system registrars, and others.

Conformity assessment can be voluntary or mandatory (done through a legal instrument to protect the consumer on issues related to life, health and environment). Interested U.S. parties can be accredited by INMETRO to perform conformity assessment activities.
For regulated products, the relevant government agency generally requires that entities engaged in product testing and mandatory certification be accredited by INMETRO. Generally, testing must be performed in-country, unless the necessary capability does not exist in Brazil.

INMETRO is a signatory to the Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), which can facilitate acceptance of test results from U.S. laboratories that are accredited by U.S. organizations and are also signatories.

There is still no legal mandate to retest non-regulated products that have been approved in their country of origin. For non-regulated products, some U.S. marks and product certification may be accepted. As with all voluntary standards, any certification that may be required in non-regulated sectors is a contractual matter to be decided between buyer and seller. Market forces and preferences sometimes de facto require a specific certification.

To facilitate U.S. product acceptance in Brazil by recognizing existing certifications, agreements between U.S. and local certifiers/testing houses are encouraged. There is no impediment for the establishment of U.S. certification organizations in Brazil. If your product has been certified in the U.S. or Europe, it may not need to be recertified (see ILAC MRA above). If your product is not certified, please refer to the mandatory product certification process.

A search engine of certified products (both mandatory and voluntary) in Brazil is available as well as information about the accreditation requirements and current accredited bodies. The General Coordination for Accreditation (CGCRE) of INMETRO is responsible for accrediting certification bodies, quality system registrars, inspection bodies, product verification and training bodies, as well as testing and calibration laboratories.

Publication of Technical Regulations
The regulations on Public Consultation are on INMETRO’s website. INMETRO and CONMETRO use their websites to inform the public about updates to technical regulations

The Brazilian Foreign Trade Council (CAMEX) published Resolution 90 on December 7, 2018, establishing good practices for the preparation and review of regulatory measures affecting foreign trade. The resolution encourages the competent Brazilian regulatory bodies and entities to develop regulatory agendas, conduct regulatory impact analysis, evaluate regulatory alternatives, use international standards, conduct transparent public consultations of a minimum of 60 days for all regulations with international trade effects, ensure all regulations comply with Brazil’s international trade commitments, notify regulations to the WTO via the inquiry point, use evidence-based decision making, coordinate with other relevant regulators to ensure coherence and compatibility with other regulations, and review and manage regulatory stock.

In addition, on October 30, 2018, the Brazilian Attorney General of the Union (AGU) published Ordinance 328, which establishes a working group with a series of ongoing actions within the scope of AGU and its related bodies that contribute to the regulatory coherence of federal bodies and agencies from the Executive branch. Ordinance 328 states that the working group will prepare a guide indicating good international and internal practices. The specific section on Good Regulatory Practices (GRPs) reflects training and guidance for legal departments and joint work among all Brazilian ministries and agencies. On November 30, 2018, AGU held a public hearing on GRPs as a tool to gather feedback from  Brazilian entities and to create a more predictable and stable  business environment for local and foreign investors.

Members of the WTO are required under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) to notify the WTO of 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(ies) 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 DOC.