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

VII. Certification of Products and Quality Systems
B. Accreditation of Certification Organizations and Arrangements with Others

Antigua & Barbuda

Under Decree 1474/94, in 1995 the Argentine Accreditation Agency (Organismo Argentino de Acreditación) was established as a civil, non-profit entity for the purpose of accrediting the entities that certify goods, services, processes and quality systems, testing and calibration laboratories, and quality auditors. As of this date the quality procedures and manuals are being produced; it is expected that the work of accreditation will begin in March 1996.


Certification of approved standardizing bodies is acceptable. Third party certification is acceptable. Certificates from accredited laboratories are acceptable. Among CARICOM countries, there is an agreement on the acceptance of the Certification Marks of the Bureaux which issues the marks, as evidence of conformity, and acceptance without further internal tests.

A link was recently developed between the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI) and the Canadian Standards Association or the Quality Management Institute QMI.
A link was also developed between BNSI and SGS - International Certification Services - on certifying Barbadian companies to the ISO 9000 Series of Quality Management Standards.


To date only IBNORCA (Bolivian Institute for Standardization and Quality) is recognized as a certifying entity, covering all areas of certification. With the Bolivian System for Standardization, Metrology, Accreditation, and Certification in the process of approval, certification and registration agencies will be accredited under the international guides recognized for this activity. To this end the guides of the ISO/CASCO are being studied with a view to their adoption, for the accreditation and operation of certification/registry entities.

There are now ten certification bodies accredited by INMETRO to operate Quality System Certification in accordance with ISO 9000; eight for products, one for personnel. Some Brazilian Accredited Certification Bodies have sought accreditation under programs operated by other countries. Other Brazilian certification bodies have established memorandum of understanding with foreign counterparts.

INMETRO, the accreditation body in Brazil, participates in the IAF - International Accreditation Forum - whose aim is to promote the international acceptance of the accreditation granted by the Accreditation Body Members of this forum, based on the equivalence of the operation of the accreditation programs. In the regional forum of accreditation bodies in Asia, the PAC - Pacific Accreditation Cooperation - INMETRO participates as an associated member.

Regarding the Quality System Auditor Certification, INMETRO is a member and occupies a position in the executive committee of IATCA (International Auditor Training Certification Association). In the laboratory area, both testing and calibration, INMETRO participates in ILAC - the International Laboratory Accreditation Conference.

The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) assesses third party registration organizations in accordance with published criteria. Those that meet the criteria are granted accreditation and are audited annually to ensure continuing compliance with the terms of their accreditation. SCC has accredited fourteen registration organizations. The activities of accredited registration organizations do not fall under regulatory jurisdiction in Canada, and both federal and provincial government departments call up quality registration for procurement purposes only when that is considered to be appropriate to specific purposes. SCC conducts on-site assessments of registration organizations that apply for accreditation, using published criteria, and audits accredited organizations annually. At the present time SCC does not have any affiliation with other national or regional bodies that accredit registration organizations. However, several SCC accredited registration organizations have affiliations of various types with registration bodies in other countries.


The various types of accreditation are for: certification entities, inspection entities, testing laboratories, and metrology laboratories.

The competent entity on accreditation is the Suprintendency of Industry and Commerce,which is in charge of organizing, regulating and executing activities related to accreditation. Decree 2269 of 1993 creates the Advisory Technical Council on accreditation as an auxiliary body to the Suprintendency of Industry and Commerce.

The National Institute for Supervision of Drugs and Food (INVIMA) and the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) have special responsibility for establishing the conditions that must be met by the agencies that wish to be accredited as certification agencies, inspection agencies, and testing laboratories to certify conformity in terms of food, drugs and cosmetics, plant and animal health.

Under Decision 376 of the Commission of the Cartagena Agreement, work is under way at the Andean level to create the Andean Network of Accreditation Agencies, for the purpose of bringing about multilateral acceptance of certificates of conformity.

In 1992 Colombia and Venezuela signed an accord of Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Conformity and currently Colombia and Ecuador, through an accord signed in 1996, work towards the harmonization of minimal requirements for the recognition of certificates of conformity.

Colombia is also part of the IAAC.

Costa Rica
The National Accreditation Entity (ENA) has the legal function of accrediting the public or private entities with certification, control, and inspection functions. The ONNUM is entrusted with managing the ENA Technical Secretariat. This unified channel is used independent of whether the certification of products, services, or processes is pursuant to a review to verify conformity with standards or technical regulations. The National Quality System can accredit certifying entities for any specific area of activity.

At present there are no agreements among certifying organizations. Nonetheless, national legal provisions have expressly set as one of the short-term objectives for the National Accreditation Entity (ENA) its registration and recognition in the Quality System Accreditation Recognition (QSAR) and its membership in the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).


Dominican Republic

At this time there is no national legislation on accreditation. It will be defined in the near future.
Under Decision 376 of the Cartagena Agreement, "Andean System for Standardization, Accreditation, Testing, Certification, Technical Regulations, and Metrology," work is under way to develop procedures for multilateral recognition of quality certificates among the countries of the subregion and the accrediting organizations.

El Salvador
The National Subsystem on Certification, which includes accreditation of laboratories used for testing and analysis, certification of conformity, mark of conformity with Salvadoran standard, registration and certification of quality systems, registration and certification of quality and systems auditors, etc., will begin to be developed in 1996. When the system is implemented mutual recognition agreements will be sought with accreditation and certification bodies of other countries.


No agreements have been signed with other countries on this matter.




Jamaican Bureau of Standards product certification is accepted in CARICOM region.

Accredited Certification Bodies:
- National Association on Standardization of the Electrical Sector A.C. (ANCE)
- Electronic Standardization and Certification A.C. (NYCE)
- Certified Mexican Quality A.C. (CALMECAC)
- Mexican Institute of Standardization and Certification A.C. (IMNC)
- Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT)
- Mexican Society of Standardization and Certification (NORMEX)
- National Body of Standardization and certification of Construction and Building (ONCCE)
- National Institute of Textile Standardization A.C. (INNTEX)
- National Center of Plastic (CNP)
- The government bodies in their area of expertise.

Some national industrial sectors are working on the harmonization of standards in order to facilitate trade in goods. To present only ANCE and NYCE have set out a list of intentions with the "Underwrite Laboratories (UL)".

At present Panama does not have an accredited certification entity.


The national accreditation agency is the Commission of Technical and Trade Regulations of INDECOPI; it accredits certification entities, based on international standards and guides, as per the following classification:
- Prototype or lot of product
- Seal or mark of conformity
- Quality systems
- Personnel
At present there are no mutual recognition agreements with similar agencies, nonetheless there has been active participation in the work to establish inter-American cooperation among accreditation bodies.

Saint Lucia

Trinidad & Tobago
There is no accreditation body in Trinidad and Tobago at present.
No bilateral or multilateral arrangements presently exist for mutual recognition of conformity procedures.

United States
Product certification
For many certification programs, competence is established through the use of products whose compliance is evaluated under the certification program. The consistent compliance with requirements that certification programs demonstrate over time is the most powerful competence demonstration. In addition, formal accreditation programs are utilized.

OSHA operates a program for accrediting third party certification bodies (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories -- NRTLs) which certify compliance with OSHA standards and regulations. ANSI administers a program for accrediting certification programs. This was established to meet a need for national recognition of competent certification programs, private sector self-regulation and market value enhancement, and for use by government agencies for purchasing and regulatory compliance purposes. ANSI has accredited certification programs for: windows and doors; sealed insulating glass; treated wood; drinking water additives; drinking water treatment units; swimming pools, spas and components; circulation systems and components; plastic piping systems and components; Class I biohazard cabinetry; wastewater treatment units; food service equipment; bottled water and packaged ice; gas appliances and accessories; electric appliances and accessories. Certifications are rarely accepted across borders. The basis for the certification (product testing or quality system audits) can often be exchanged however. The requirements to which compliance is demonstrated, the final certification decision, and the ongoing monitoring of the certified product or system generally remain the responsibility of the domestic organization. Many certifiers have well-structured, functioning agreements for the exchange of test data and system audits on which certifications are based.

Quality systems
ANSI has a joint program with the Registrar Accreditation Board (RAB) -- the American National Accreditation Program for Registrars of Quality Systems -- for the accreditation of registration programs under the ISO 9000 series of standards. To date, 11 registration programs have been accredited by ANSI/RAB, and more accreditations are expected.

Some U.S. registrars have sought accreditation under programs operated by other countries to increase the recognition of their registration in that market. Other U.S. registrars have established mutual recognition agreements with foreign-based registrars. Some registrars have followed both courses, seeking mutual recognition agreements while also pursuing accreditation. A number of U.S.-based registrars are subsidiaries of parent companies, which are accredited in their home country. The extent of domestic and international recognition of a registration certificate tends to vary among U.S. registrars. Likewise, recognition accorded in the U.S. market to foreign registrars also varies depending on their accreditation and mutual recognition arrangements with U.S. counterparts.

Currently the creation of a National Agency of Accreditation is under consideration, which would be responsible for regulation in this area.
There are a few bilateral agreements which cover specific products.
Independently of these, LATU and UNIT carry out voluntary work on certification of systems and products.

The Fund for Standardization and Quality Certification (FONDONORMA) is authorized by the Ministry of Development to undertake certification activities pursuant to standards through Resolution 1450 of June 14, 1993, published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Venezuela No. 35237 of June 21, 1993.
In 1992 an agreement was signed by Colombia and Venezuela that stipulates among other things harmonization of standards between the two countries and recognition of the respective official quality seals. In addition, there is an agreement between FONDONORMA and ICONTEC (Colombian Technical Standards Institute) signed in 1995 in relation to recognition of certifications of quality systems.

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