Mexico - Commercial Guide
Trade Standards

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: 2020-08-18

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.

Three 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.
  3. Reference Standards (Normas de Referencia Federal, or NRFs). NRFs are applied to goods and services acquired, leased, or hired, when Mexican or international standards do not cover their requirements, or their specifications become obsolete.

In the information 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 (SE), through the General Directorate of Standards (Dirección General de Normas, or DGN), is the organization with the authority to manage and coordinate standards development in Mexico. The Secretariat’s authority is derived from the Federal Metrology and Standardization Law (Ley Federal de Metrología y Normalización, or LFMN). DGN participates actively in international fora, including the International Organization for Standards (ISO), Codex Alimentarius, the Pan American Standards Commission (COPANT), and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

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 LFMN 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

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 23, 2018, the Mexican Government published in its Official Gazette an amendment to Annex 2.4.1. (known as the “NOM Annex”) of the “General Import and Export Tax Law,” which identifies the HS codes of imported products subject to NOM compliance. The changes became effective on June 3, 2019. One key change is that importers can no longer use the exceptions listed previously in Article 10, Section VII (products imported for the company’s own use) and Section VIII (products that will be used for professional use, industrial or manufacturing process) of the Annex to import the product without a compliance certificate.

This link provides the change published in the Official Gazette in Spanish on October 23, 2018: Diario Oficial de la Federación - Comercio Exterior.  This link provides the deadline extension published in the Official Gazette in Spanish on February 28, 2019.

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 (product certification body for the electric sector NOMs)
  • CALMECAC—Calidad Mexicana Certificada, A.C. (certifies Mexican quality)
  • CNCP—Centro Nacional Para la Calidad del Plástico (Mexican Center for the Quality of Plastics)
  • CRT—Consejo Regulador Del Tequila (Tequila Regulation 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 Electrónica (for electronic standardization and certification)
  • ONNCCE—Organismo de Normalización y Certificación de la Construcción y Edificación (the building and construction standardization and certification body)
  • UL de México—Underwriters Laboratories de México, S.A. de C.V. (product certification body for electric and electronic equipment)
  • Intertek (product certification body for electric and electronic equipment)

The Secretariat of Economy 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 the National Institute of Standards and Technology, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Publication of Technical Regulations

In accordance with the LFMN, the National Standardization Plan (Programa Nacional de Normalización, or PNN) is the official document used to plan, inform, and coordinate standardization activities, both public and private, carried out by the Mexican Government. The PNN is published annually in Mexico’s Official Gazette (Diario Oficial de la Federación, or DOF).

The PNN includes a list of topics that will be developed into NOMs and NMXs as well as an approximate working calendar for each respective topic. The Technical Secretariat of National Standardization develops the PNN each year, approved by the National Standardization Commission (Comisión Nacional de Normalización, or CNN).

The LFMN and its implementing regulation establish a timeframe for each step of the NOM-making process (development, draft publication in the DOF, and publication of modified and definitive technical regulations and standards) and within the PNN framework. The actual NOM-making period, however, is based on various factors. These include the complexity of the topic and the inherent uncertainty about the amount of time needed for each step in the process (i.e. publishing period in the DOF, draft response, comments, and final technical regulation).

Any bureau, person, or council can propose the creation or modification of a NOM to the appropriate committee. Federal agencies wanting to propose a new NOM must create a committee, known as a National Standardization Advisory Committees (Comités Consultivos Nacionales de Normalización, or CCNNs). The committee drafts the NOM and registers it in the PNN. Then the draft NOM is published in the DOF for a 60-day comment period. After the comment period, the CCNN analyzes the comments, publishes them in the DOF, and authorizes the final NOM.

This link provides a PDF copy of the 2020 Mexico National Standardization Program.

U.S. entities can participate in the process in several ways. They can

  • Review the PNN to learn about proposed standards
  • Participate in the applicable technical working group (requires physical presence)
  • Submit comments during the 60-day public consultation period
  • Solicit the creation, modification, or cancellation of technical regulations and standards (NOM and NMX) to the appropriate government office or to a National Standardization Body

On August 2019, the Secretariat of Economy announced the “Infrastructure Quality Law” project which will replace the current National Metrology Law.  This link provides information on the project and the law. As of the writing of this section, the law has not been approved by the Mexican Congress. The law aims to amend the national standardization model and provide updated guidance on the metrology, standardization, and conformity assessment process. The U.S. Commercial Section will write a summary on the law as soon as it is published in the Official Gazette.

Standards Bodies

The National Standardization Commission (Comisión Nacional de Normalización, or CNN) is the coordinating body for standards policy at the national level.  Currently, the CNN is comprised of 43 members, including federal agencies, chambers, national standards bodies and associations related to standardization. The CNN's main functions are to approve the National Standards Program, establish the coordination guidelines between agencies and entities at the federal level, prepare and publish standards, resolve any differences between CCNNs, and comment on the registration of national standardization bodies.

The National Standardization Technical Committees (Comités Técnicos de Normalización, or CTNs) are bodies recognized by the Secretariat of Economy 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, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA)
  • 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

Organizations that develop NMXs 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 Body (ONNCCE)
  • Food Products and Quality Systems—Mexican Society of Standardization and Certification (NORMEX)
  • Electronics—Electronic Standardization and Certification (NYCE)
  • Dairy Products—Council for Milk Quality and Dairy Products (COFOCALEC)
  • Steel—National Chamber of the Iron and Steel Industry (CANACERO)

Standards Classifications

Mexican standards are classified into economic sectors according to the following table:

Industrial Sector

Letter

Textile Industry

A

Environmental Protection

AA

Graphic Arts

AG

Steel Products

B

Metal Blinds, Shutters and Rods

BA

Products and Equipment for Medical, Hospital and Laboratory Use

BB

Construction Materials

C

Quality Systems

CC

Control, Measurement and Statistics Apparatus

CH

E-Business

COE

Vehicles (incl. auto parts)

D

Automotive Locksmith Services

DA

Blueprint and Photocopying

DD

Technical Drawing

DT

Plastics and their Products

E

Conformity Assessment

EC

Container and Packaging Products

EE

Electronic Data Exchange

EDI

Solar Energy

ES

Food Products

F

Non-Industrialized Food Products for Human Use

FF

Pharmaceutical Products

G

Cranes and Lifting Devices

GR

Technology Management

GT

Metalwork, Welding and Metallic Coating Products

H

Electronics Industry

I

Electricity Industry

J

Chemical Products

K

Oil Refining, Distillation and Exploration Products

L

End-Use Chemicals

M

Equipment and Materials for Offices and Schools

N

Equipment for General Use in Industry and Agriculture

O

Glass Industry

P

Items Used for Optics

PA

Handicrafts and Pottery

PP

Products and Equipment for Domestic Use

Q

Miscellaneous Industries

R

Security

S

Environmental Administration Systems

SAA

Industrial Hygiene

SS

Health and Safety at Work Management Systems

SAST

Rubber Products

T

Tourism

TT

Paints, Varnishes and Lacquers

U

Alcoholic Drinks

V

Non-Ferrous Metal Products

W

Toys

WW

Equipment for the Handling and Use of LP and Natural Gas

X

Agricultural Industry

Y

Basic Standards and Symbols

Z

Source: Secretariat of Economy

CS Mexico Standards Contacts

Braeden Young

Standards Attac

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