Glancing at Technical Regulations in South America

After giving a general description/opinion about Technical Regulations in the first Post, I would like to make a quick review of main Technical Regulations (hereinafter TRs) which are implemented in different countries in South America.

It is important to highlight that regulations in South America change really fast, so it is strongly recommended to verify its enforcement and revision on a continuous basis (effective implementation of Clause 8.3.3 of ISO 9001:2015).

Let’s start with some important TRs in Argentina which are currently in force, for the sake of clarity I will not mention the specific name/number of regulation because the aim of this article is just to be a general description about TRs in South America.

· Safety of electrical products: Electrical and electronic products and material which are intended to be operated by laymen, rated above 50 V, below 63 A, below 5 kVA (except household appliances) shall be third party certified according to the applicable IRAM or IEC Standards (including safety requirements). Allowed certification schemes are System 4 (Type testing + surveillance), System 5 (Mark of conformity) and System 1b (Batch) however for some products the System 5 is the only one allowed (electrical material, some household appliances). Certificate is required to clear shipments from customs.

· Energy Efficiency labelling: Some electrical appliances (refrigerators, fluorescent lamps, washing machines, air conditioners, single & three phase motors, ballast, microwave oven, and others) and some gas appliances are subjected to a third party certification as per applicable IRAM (for electrical) or ENARGAS (for gas) appliances. Applicable certification scheme is System 5 (Mark of conformity). For electrical products, in-country testing is to be carried out, only for refrigerators testing at manufacturer’s laboratories is allowed (witnessed by certification body). Certificate is required to clear shipments from customs.

· Steel: Steel materials intended to be used in structures are subjected to a third party certification according to the applicable IRAM-IAS standard. Allowed certification schemes are System 5 or System 1b (batch); for “intermediate goods” only System 1b is allowed. Certificate is required to clear shipments from customs.

· Personal Protective Equipment: PPE (safety shoes, gloves, fall arresters and others) are subjected to a third party certification according to the IRAM or EN standards. Allowed certification schemes are System 5 or System 1b. Certificate is required to clear shipments from customs.

· Toys: Toys are subjected to a third party certification according to NM (Mercosur) standard. Allowed certification schemes are System 5 or System 4. Certificate is required to clear shipments from customs

· Other products: Lighters, Aluminum profile for structural use, aluminum flexible tubes, cement, some batteries, automotive parts, bicycles (both for adults or childrens) and other products are also subjected to different compulsory certification schemes.

Also Brazil has a wide range of products subjected to a compulsory certification scheme; the full list of such regulations can be found at authority’s web page (http://inmetro.gov.br/qualidade/rtepac/compulsorios.asp); it is important to remark that some consumer products (e.g. household appliances or toys) have requirements based on international or regional standards, thus no change in the products (except marking or accessories) is expected to implement in each market. In Chile, as mentioned before the Superintendencia de Combustibles (www.sec.cl) has implemented a compulsory certification scheme for safety requirements of some electrical products and also energy efficiency labelling. In-country certification is required, but the requirement is applicable at the moment of sales of products.

In Colombia, the TRs called RETIE (Safety for some electrical components) & RETIQ (energy efficiency labelling for household appliances) are implemented requiring a compulsory in-country certification.

In Perú, a TR is implemented for cables and also for energy efficiency labelling. In the case of the energy efficiency labelling, in-country certification is not required yet (we can say that is a self-declaration scheme), however in a few months products must be in-country certified.

In Equator, several TRs are implemented for various products; each TR has its own conformity assessment scheme and requirements, however we can say that in general requirements are aligned with international standards (www.normalizacion.gob.ec) .

In Uruguay, TRs for electrical safety & energy efficiency labelling is fully implemented, however scope of such TR is limited for some specific products (e.g. electrical material, fluorescent lamps, refrigerators, etc.)

As a conclusion of this brief article we can say that TRs are intended to make manufacturers/importers/distributors provide safe and efficient products to enhance the quality of life; however in some cases these TRs make become a headache in the supply chain because of unexpected delays or requirements that have to be passed. Particularly in South America there is not a general regulation that allows to cover all the requirements at once (like European Directive), so manufacturers/importers/distributors should be permanently alert about any upcoming change in all the different markets of the region, even the smaller ones.

Author: Guillermo Curi

Mr. Guillermo Curi is graduated in Electrical Engineering from Universidad de Buenos Aires – Argentina, he has a post degree in Business Management and a Specialization in Service Management. He has been working for more than 19 years in the field of conformity assessment and also participates in the IECEE CB Scheme as Technical Assessor and a member of the Committee for Factory Surveillance. He has a breadth and depth of knowledge about technical conformity requirements of most of the South American countries of Argentina, Brazil , Colombia, Perú, Equator and Uruguay

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