622 million potential consumers in twenty countries makes Latin America (LatAm) an attractive proposition for manufacturers of consumer electronics.1 How can they successfully access diverse, regulated markets in this vast region?

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 2022 Q1_Connectivity Earth 

Consumer demand 

Covering 19.2 million km2, LatAm incorporates everything from the US/Mexican border in the north to the Strait of Magellan in the south, including tropical islands, rainforests and mountain peaks. 

Consumer demand for electrical and electronic (EE) products in this large and diverse region is starting to show signs of recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. In Brazil, revenue is predicted to grow by 0.83% annually over the next four years.  Similar annual growth is also predicted in Colombia (0.43%), Mexico (1.92%) and Perú (1.83%).3 However, Chile is predicted to contract by 0.15% annually.4

In recent years, demand for EE products has shifted towards telephony. Looking to the future, this is likely to be combined with a considerable growth in smart devices. There is an estimate that 513 million new Internet of Things (IoT) connections will be made between 2020 and 2025.5 

Barriers to market entry

A buoyant market for consumer electronics exists in LatAm. However, for manufacturers and suppliers, there are several hurdles to overcome before they can place their products onto target markets. 

Each LatAm market enforces its own product safety standards. These may be traceable back to an international standard, but that is not always the case. Suppliers therefore need to understand what standards are being enforced in all their target markets before export. 

Regulations, compliance procedures and certification requirements are used differently by each country to control access to its markets. These will cover product safety and performance, but they may also include provisions relating to factors such as environmental protection. Even when commercial agreements exist between countries, for example in the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) and the Andean Community Free Trade area (CAN), importers can still face a diversity of requirements and uneven criteria. 

A complex regulatory landscape creates difficulties for importers. In most cases, a valid safety test report issued in the country of origin is insufficient to gain access to the target market because it will not necessarily be accepted or validated by the destination country. 

Before a product can be accepted onto a market it may need to be tested and receive certification against a wide variety of regulations. These may include: 

  • Argentina – IRAM S Mark and ENACOM certification
  • Brazil – INMETRO and ANATEL certification
  • Colombia – RETIE/RETILAP/RETIQ and CRC certification
  • Costa Rica – Energy efficiency and SUTEL certification
  • Ecuador – INEN and ARCOTEL certification
  • El Salvador – Energy efficiency and SIGET certification 
  • Mexico – NOM and IFETEL certification
  • Panama – Energy efficiency and ASEP certification
  • Peru – Energy efficiency and MTC certification

LatAm is not one regulatory entity. To successfully access its diverse markets, manufacturers and suppliers will need to work with a testing and certification company that understands the regulatory barriers enforced by each country. Ideally, they will also be able to create a process that streamlines certification, allowing the product to be offered onto a variety of markets in the most cost-effective and efficient manner. 

SGS Solution

SGS has considerable experience in helping manufacturers and suppliers successfully access markets across LatAm. Our experts understand the regulatory landscape in each country and can provide consultancy services that ensure EE products conform to the right standards. We will ensure the process is streamlined, creating a testing, inspection and certification strategy that incorporates all relevant criteria for market access. 

We are also accredited as a Certification Body (CB) and can provide International Type Approval (ITA) through our global network of testing facilities, helping manufacturers and suppliers to access countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. 

Learn more about International Type Approval solutions from SGS.

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For more information, please contact:  

Camilo Ramirez
Certification Director
Connectivity and Products, SGS
t: +57 1 606 92 92 Ext. 11214

References

1 Latin America Population 2022 
2 Consumer Electronics - Brazil
3 Consumer Electronics - Peru, Mexico & Columbia
4 Consumer Electronics - Chile
5 Forecast number of new internet of things (IoT) connections in Latin America in 2025, by sector