Our neighbor to the south is vast and largely open to development. From beachside resorts to densely populated apartment blocks, the demand for high quality plumbing products is high. The Mexican government over the last several years has put in place enforceable product standards to ensure Mexico is not a product dumping ground. A stamp reading “Hecho en los Estados Unidos de América” (Made in the United States of America) no longer means a free pass through Mexico’s Customs and Border Security for plumbing products. In most respects, the existing restrictions on plumbing products exported to Mexico remain in effect under the USMCA trade law, although with fewer tariffs and other impediments to fair cross-border trade.
In Mexico, all organizations involved in the process of standardization, including product certification bodies, must abide by the Federal Law of Metrology and Standardization. Compliance of the certification body to this strict law is reviewed annually by entidad mexicana de la acreditación, a.c. (ema) during the accreditation audit. Article 53 of this federal law mandates that all products and services regulated by a Mexican National Standard (NOM) must have a certificate of compliance from an accredited and approved agency.
From Federal Law of Metrology and Standardization, dated 6/15/2018: Article 53:
When a product or service must meet a certain Mexican official standard, its similar ones to be imported must also meet the specifications established in said standard.
For this purpose, the products or services to be imported must have the certificate or authorization of the competent agency to regulate the corresponding product or service, or of the persons accredited and approved by the competent agencies for such purpose in accordance with the provisions of this Law. Amended paragraph DOF 05-20-1997
When there is no official Mexican standard, the competent agencies may require that the products or services to be imported show the international specifications with which they comply, those of the country of origin or, in the absence of these, those of the manufacturer.
For plumbing standards, the competent government agency appointed to regulate the compliance of products found in the scope of NOM standards is CONAGUA (National Water Commission). This means that, in order for a certification body to be able to legally certify products under a NOM, the certification body must be accredited by ema and also approved by CONAGUA. The use of the NOM mark is additionally regulated by the standard NOM- 106-SCFI-2017, which gives enforcement rights to the competent agency in charge of regulating the product. Therefore, certification agencies are not authorized to use the NOM mark if they do not have the approval of CONAGUA. IAPMO R&T is the only certification body for plumbing products outside of Mexico that meets these criteria.
Many global manufacturers know that it is best to enter this vibrant market with a partner that knows all the specifics and nuances of the full set of Mexican standards, regulations and laws, as well as how the certification process works.
As a result of its unprecedented full accreditation and approval, IAPMO R&T has for many years been able to successfully offer certification services for flushometer-valves, bath-shower valves, showerheads, toilets, and fill and flush valves for toilet tanks manufactured for installation in Mexico. In order to provide our clients with a true one-stop shop for our Mexico certification program, in June 2014, IAPMO R&T Lab similarly gained ema accreditation and CONAGUA approval for the testing of water closets, flushometer valves, fill and flush valves and showerheads destined for the Mexican market. This accreditation and approval includes the IAPMO R&T Labs in Ontario, CA, and in Guangzhou, China, making them the only labs fully approved for Mexican plumbing product testing outside of Mexico.
It is important to know that if a certification body promotes that it has achieved ema accreditation, that it has only gone part way down the track of getting products certified for installation in Mexico. In Mexico, all certification bodies that are in compliance with the law must have access to the Mexican Customs portal so they can upload their listing certificates. This listing information will be accessed by the Customs agent at the port of entry to officially verify the certification of the product. If the model numbers are not found on the Customs database, the product will not be allowed to enter the country. Therefore, if a certification body does not have this access, it will not be able to assist its clients when their products are retained at customs as their certificates will not be considered valid.
“This accreditation represents a significant milestone for us as it makes IAPMO R&T the only U.S.-based certification agency that can offer plumbing product certification services for the entire North American market — the United States, Canada and now Mexico,” said Ohannes Dembekjian, executive vice president for IAPMO R&T Continuous Compliance.
“Manufacturers of products maintaining IAPMO R&T active listings for the U.S. and Canadian markets can also enjoy increased market reach with a Mexican listing, as well,” said Jin Luo, executive vice president for IAPMO R&T Certification. The Mexican government is making large strides toward improving the nation’s potable water and sanitary systems and advancing water conservation efforts. The business units of The IAPMO Group are proud to be long-term partners in the overall health and safety of the citizens in Mexico and around the globe.
Jose Madrigal is director of IAPMO Continuous Compliance and heads up the Mexico Products Approval Group of IAPMO. He is also the volunteer vice-president chair of the CONAGUA Committee for Accredited Bodies. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and spent several years as a product- evaluation engineer with The IAPMO Group
Last modified: December 12, 2022