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Inventory of National Practices on Standards, Technical Regulations
and Conformity Assessment in the Western Hemisphere

II. Standards Entities

Antigua & Barbuda
ABBS (Antigua and Barbuda Bureau of Standards) - is a government statutory housed within the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs. Presently, all national standards are in draft for awaiting ratification by Council. The areas covered are (i) labeling; (ii) construction materials; and (iii) food.

The standards are developed by IRAM - Argentine Institute for the Rationalization of Materials (Argentine standardization institute) itself or in conjunction with the entities listed below, within a regime of technical cooperation agreements to study standards. The standards studied and approved under these agreements have the following mixed acronyms:

IRAM - IAP (Argentine Petroleum Institute)
IRAM - CID (Center for Documentary Research of the INTI)
IRAM - AADL (Argentine Association of Lighting)
IRAM - FA (the Argentine railroad)
IRAM - SAIPA (Argentine Society for Research on Aromatic Products
IRAM - ATIPCA (Argentine Association of Experts in the Paper and Pulp Industry)
IRAM - SPLAFAM (Pesticides Section, Center for Toxicological Research, School of Medicine, University of Buenos Aires)
IRAM - DEF (Ministry of National Defense)
IRAM - SENASA (Animal Health Service of the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries)
IRAM - CPHSI (Professional College of Industrial Hygiene and Safety)
IRAM - CNEA (National Atomic Energy Commission, Non-Destructive Tests Area)
IRAM - INTI-CIT (Center for Textile Research, National Institute of Industrial Technology)
IRAM - IAS (Argentine Steel Institute)
IRAM - AITA (Association of Engineers and Experts from the Automotive Industry)
IRAM - IAC (Argentine Quality Institute)
IRAM - AQA (Argentine Chemistry Association)
IRAM - AAQCT (Argentine Association of Textile Chemicals and Colorings)
IRAM - NEME (Business Standardization of Electrical Materials)
IRAM - FAAA (Argentine Federation of Anesthesiology Associations).
*WITHOUT MIXED ACRONYMS: National Atomic Energy Commission, Area of Radiological Protection and Natural Resources.

There are two Government agencies involved in standards and technical regulations development. They are the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environmental Health. Both agencies are Government agencies. The standards and regulations are related to health, safety, the environment and food quality. The Food Standards are prepared under the authority of the Food Standards Act. The Act requires the appointment of a Food Standards Board which is comprised of Technical Officers of both the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environmental Health and persons from Industry. The Board is co-chaired by the Director of Agriculture and the Director of Environmental Health Departments.

The standards development organization in Barbados is the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI). BNSI operates the formulation and writing of standards using the committee structure, and the consensus principle. Any member of the Institution or any authoritative body may request BNSI to establish a standard for any specific subject or to revise an existing standard by formally submitting such a request in writing. Work on development of a new standard is carried out by an appropriate Technical Committee. The draft standard prepared by the Technical Committee is issued in draft form for a period of not less than three months and widely circulated amongst those interested parties. After receiving comments, the final version of the standard is referred to the Division Council concerned for adoption.
BNSI is a joint undertaking between the Government of Barbados and the private sector. Its scope includes food and non-food items.

The Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS) is responsible for writing standards for the improvement of goods, services, processes, and practices used in Belize.

IBNORCA (Bolivian Institute for Standardization and Quality) is a private non-profit institute, with state participation accounting for one-third of the Board of Directors. The founding partners are the Chambers and Associations of Industry, Commerce, and Construction, the Federation of Private Entrepreneurs, and the state, through the Secretariat for Industry and Commerce. IBNORCA is the national standardization agency and defines the mechanisms for developing technical standards in Bolivia.

National System of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality (INMETRO) - a network of institutions created in 1973 with the objective of formulating and executing the national policy of Standardization, metrology and quality certification. Brazilian Technical Standards Association (ABNT) - a non-profit organization accredited as the National Standardization Forum of the INMETRO.
National Council of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality (CONMETRO) - the normative entity of the INMETRO. National Standardization Committee (CNN) - the coordinating committee for planning in all matters regarding Brazilian standardization and regulation.
National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality (INMETRO) - executive secretary of the CONMETRO.

Codes writing organizations:
Canadian Standards Association (CSA) - non-profit organization
National Research Council of Canada (NRC) - federal crown corporation

Standards development organizations:
BNQ (Bureau de Normalisation du Quebec) - part of a non-profit agency of the Quebec provincial government
CGA (Canadian Gas Association)
CGSB (Canadian General Standards Board) - directorate within the Department of Public Works Canada
CSA (Canadian Standards Association)
ULC (Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada)

The Standards Council of Canada (SCC), a federal crown corporation, is responsible for accrediting standards development organizations. The Standards Council of Canada coordinates The National Standards System (NSS) which comprises some 230 government and private sector standards organizations. The organizations include standards development, testing, certification and quality systems registration organizations. In addition, the NSS includes some 14,000 volunteers who participate in national and international standards activities.

In December 1, 1995 Industry Minister John Manley introduced a bill to amend the Standards Council of Canada Act. The proposed changes are designed to modernize the organization and make the Council leaner, more efficient and more accountable. Under the proposals the size of the Council will be reduced from 57 member to 15, there will be one federal representative and two provincial-territorial members. The balance will comprise representatives from consumer, business and professional organizations and associations, and the standards community.

The ongoing priority of the Standards Council will be to promote voluntary standardization in Canada. At the same time, the mandate of the Council will be expanded to reflect the policy priorities identified in the consultation process as well as those outlined in Building A More Innovative Economy, including regulatory reform, technology diffusion, international trade, and internal trade. Standards initiatives over the next four years are aimed at improving industry and consumer access to relevant information on standards, and strengthening the capacity of the Council to provide strategic support to a proposed provincial-territorial advisory committee and industry-driven standardization initiatives.

INN (National Standardization Institute) - It is the only standards agency. It covers all technologies. It is a private foundation created by CORFO (Corporation to Promote Production) and is linked to the Government through CORFO for the purpose of its administration and directly with each Ministry for the purposes of their operations.

The National Council on Standards and Qualities, an advisory body to the Ministry of Economic Development presided by the Minister of Economic Development, whose functions are defined by the Decree 2152 of 1992, is in charge of defining the policy for standardization at the national level and for international commitments. This Council approves the annual standardization program and determines when a Colombian standard should be mandatory.

The Colombian Technical Standards Institute, ICONTEC, is a private entity which has been recognized by the Colombian government as the national standards bureau through Decree 2269 of 1993. It is entrusted with elaborating, updating and reviewing national standards, and carrying out the annual standardization program. The ICONTEC is a private body with its own administrative organization, which receives a percentage of state financing for specific projects.

The Sectoral Standardization Units were recently regulated; their objective is to develop standards for specific sectors, under the coordination of the national standards bureau, ICONTEC.

Costa Rica
The Government of Costa Rica has a close relationship with INTECO (Technical Standards Institute of Costa Rica), officially recognized as the national standards bureau. Its priority areas of action are quality management, environmental protection, and conformity assessment procedures.


Dominican Republic

The Ecuadoran Standardization Institute (INEN) is the agency that develops standards and represents Ecuador to both regional and international standardization agencies. The INEN is under the Ministry of Industry, Integration, and Fisheries.

El Salvador
El Salvador has a Law on the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT), Chapter IV of which establishes the Department of Standardization, Metrology, and Quality Certification.

The GDBS (Grenada Bureau of Standards) is the only national standards writing body in Grenada. It falls under the portafolio of the Ministry of Trade and Industry. So far, emphasis has been placed on standards for industry since these affect the quality of goods and services. Standards are being developed in other relevant areas.

Government Standardization Agency:
COGUANOR (Guatemalan Standards Commission) is an agency under the Ministry of Economy entrusted with setting the general plan for standardization in the country and to assess conformity with standards in force. The standards developed by the Commission are adopted as Guatemalan standards. They are of two types: voluntary or recommended standards, and binding standards.

Private Sector:
USN - Sectoral Units for Standardization

The standard writing organization in Guyana is the Guyana National Bureau of Standards. Presently there are ten (10) Technical Committees which formulate or adopt standards. The Bureau is a legal entity which is semi-autonomous and is covered by an Act of Parliament. The Bureau falls directly under the subject of the Ministry of Trade.

There are no written voluntary standards or standards-setting bodies.


The Jamaica Bureau of Standards (JBS) is the agency mandated by government to develop standards at the national level and to coordinate Jamaica's involvment in standardization at the Regional and International levels. The JBS develops standards in a wide variety of fields, including processed foods, labeling, construction materials, quality assurance, cosmetics, animal feeds, engineering products and practices.
A number of other government agencies write standards/technical regulations in specific fields not covered by the JBS. These include the Ministry of Agriculture and the Natural Resources and Conservation Authority for aspects of environmental control and the prevention of disease and infestation in stored food products. These agencies work in close collaboration with the JBS. Standards writing has up to now been carried out by government agencies. Some of the standards developed by agencies other than the JBS are adopted by the JBS to become national standards. Tourism Action Plan also works in the area of hospitality and the Ministry of Health in the area of public health and pharmaceutical products.

The General Bureau of Standards (DGN) of the Secretariat for Commerce and Industrial Development (SECOFI) is the leading standard-setting office nationally. It accredits national standardization and certification bodies, and in addition is responsible for supervising and overseeing their activities.

National standardization bodies:
IMNC - Mexican Institute for Standardization and Certification, A.C.
NORMEX - Mexican Society for Standardization and Certification, S.C.
ANCE - National Association for Standardization and Certification of the Electronics Sector, A.C.
INNTEX - National Institute for Textiles Standardization, A.C.
ONNCCE - National Office of Standardization and Certification for Construction Building Industry
NYCE - Standardization and Certification of Electronics, A.C.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Panama is the state standards bureau.

Standardization Committee - Auxiliary office of the bureau. Made up of persons and/or representatives from the economic, scientific, and technical groups interested, or who may contribute knowledge on the purpose of the Standard for the integration of each standardization committee. The standardization committees are in charge of developing Paraguayan standards and play an oversight role in respect of the documents that are prepared and approved. Each standardization committee may create a standardization subcommittee for purposes of division of labor, expand the number of its members, and seek advisory services.

The Commission of Technical and Trade Regulations of INDECOPI (National Institute for the Defense of Competence and Intellectual Property) is the Peruvian standardization bureau, in charge of approving Peruvian Technical Standards (NTP) that can be recommended to all sectors.
The Peruvian Technical Standards (NTP) are prepared by the Technical Committees on Standardization (CTN) that are set up by the Commission, and work with the Commission's supervision and technical assistance.

Saint Lucia
SLBS (Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards) - the Bureau is the only standards writing body in Saint Lucia. It is a statutory body the operations of which are financed totally by government subventions.

Trinidad & Tobago
Standards development organizations:
TTBS (Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards)
EMA (Environmental Management Authority)
CFDD (Chemistry, Food and Drugs Division)

TTBS develops standards in all areas which are subject to trade except food and drugs.
EMA is responsible for coordinating the development of environmental standards.
CFDD develops food and drugs standards.

United States
The United States is notable for the breadth and diversity of its standardization system. A number of U.S. Federal Government agencies develop standards and technical regulations (USDA, EPA, FDA, DOD, GSA, OSHA, NHTSA, BATF, etc.) related to health, safety, the environment and quality.

The standards of twenty private sector organizations constitute more than 75% of the non-government standards database (an estimated 41,500 of 94,000 total standards at the national level) in the United States. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) coordinates the voluntary standards system in the United States. [See Standards Activities of Organizations in the United States, NIST, 1991, a directory which summarizes the activities of more than 750 organizations in the U.S., including federal government agencies, which directly or indirectly relate to the standardization process.]

In general, the government relies upon private sector organizations and utilizes their standards. Guidance issued by the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget (OMB Circular A-119) encourages Federal government participation in the development of voluntary standards, and the use of such standards in procurement, regulatory and other applications.

The U.S. government also defines rules of participation (due process considerations) and limits collusion and unfair or deceptive practices that produce anticompetitive effects. For the most part, the U.S. system is self-regulating. The Federal Trade Commission monitors standards development and use.

In general, standards developed by U.S. standardizing bodies are based on due process and consensus criteria. All materially interested parties - including foreign nationals - are allowed to participate and, if not satisfied with a particular standard, to pursue an appeal at several different levels.

The Uruguayan Technical Standards Institute was founded in 1939 in order to carry out essential national activities in the area of standardization. It is a private, non-profit institution. To date the UNIT has established more than 1,300 standards. Its founding members are:

- Ministry of Industry and Energy
- Ministry of Transportation and Public Works
- Ministry of National Defense
- Municipal Intendancy of Montevideo
- National Administration of Fuel, Alcohol and Cement
- Power Plants and Electrical Transmissions
- National Port Administration
- School of Engineering
- School of Architecture
- Uruguayan Association of Engineers
- Uruguayan Association of Architects

Purposes of UNIT
1) To set standard specifications and methods for testing materials.
2) To determine the standard definitions of materials and to create a set of model samples.
3) To establish adequate information services, and to make research results available to members and the public.
4) To foster the study and knowledge of materials.
5) To foster improvement and coordination of the current laboratories, and creation of new ones, for the study of and research on materials.
6) To establish systems for quality certification and marks in accordance with standards and to promote the development of quality control technology.
7) To organize national and international congresses and conferences to address issues directly related to the activities of the Institute, and to participate in them.
8) To cooperate with government offices in all matters related to the purposes of the Institute.
9) To maintain relations with similar institutions from other countries and to become a member of similar international institutions.

The preparation of COVENIN (Venezuelan Commission for Industrial Standards) Venezuelan Standards is done through FONDONORMA (Fund for Standardization and Quality Certification) up to the stage of drafting standards, and approval of such draft standards as COVENIN Standards is made by COVENIN; they are officially adopted as COVENIN Venezuelan Standards by the Ministry of Development.

FONDONORMA is a private, non-profit civil association authorized by the Ministry of Development to develop draft technical standards and to certify conformity with such standards. It has signed a number of agreements with other national organizations in order to work jointly in the development of the standards required by the Venezuelan productive sectors. The standards studied under these agreements have the following mixed acronyms:

FODONORMA-ASOQUIM ( Asociación Venezolana de la Industria Química y Petroquímica);
FODONORMA-FAVENPA (Cámara de Fabricantes Venezolanos de Productos Automotores);
FODONORMA-AVPC (Asociación Venezolana de Productores de Cemento);
FODONORMA-IVES (Instituto Venezolano de Siderurgia);
FODONORMA-ASOGRASA (Asociación de Industriales de Aceites y Grasas Comestibles);
FODONORMA-Cámara Venezolana del Envase;
FODONORMA-CAVECOM (Cámara Venezolana de Empresas Consultoras);
FODONORMA-MTC (Ministerio de Trasnporte y Comunicaciones);
FODONORMA-CINVICRE (Cámara de la Industria del Vidrio, Cerámica y Refractarios);
FODONORMA-CAVEDIV (Cámara Venezolana de la Industria del VestidoO;
FODONORMA-AFACA (Asociación Venezolana de Fabricantes de Alimentos Concentrados para Animales);
FODONORMA-Biblioteca Nacional;
FODONORMA-CIVEA (Cámara de la Industria Venezolana de Especies Alcohólicas);
FODONORMA-CIP (Asociación para la Codificación de Productos)

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