In today’s increasingly global marketplace, there are growing opportunities for manufacturers to sell their products internationally. In particular, the demand for household appliances, including refrigerators, air conditioners, and washing machines, is increasing in South America and Mexico. Driving this demand is an emerging middle class with rising purchasing power and a rapidly urbanizing population of young people looking for these basic appliances as well as premium, smart and high-value added products.
While Brazil is home to two of the largest manufacturers in the home appliance industry, the rest of South America does not have the same level of production capabilities, making importing a viable solution. Opportunities are abundant in this market, but meeting requirements for energy efficiency and safety in each of these countries can be challenging as requirements vary across the board.
Following these five steps can help you navigate the complex and evolving compliance pathways in South America and Mexico.
1) Identify the specific countries you want to access
Depending on the product you manufacture, you will need to research market opportunities in each country to see which markets can provide you with the most value. You’ll want to consider the level of demand for your product in the country, the amount of competition, whether there are any tariffs on your products or other trade barriers, and pricing.
2) Research energy efficiency and safety requirements
Though Mexico and most countries in South America have certification schemes based on ISO/IEC 17067, national and regional variations exist when it comes to safety and energy efficiency requirements for each product class.
Chile, for example, has additional requirements related to shipment inspections beyond the requirements in IEC 17067. Refrigerators, washing machines, and air conditioners must meet safety and energy efficiency protocols. These products can be tested at recognized independent laboratories duly accredited and approved by the SEC (Chile’s regulatory authority) or laboratories that have MOUs with local Certification Bodies approved by the SEC. This can include laboratories in the manufacturer’s home country. Final approval is issued by local Certification Bodies.
Argentina’s procedures are a bit different. Washing machines and air conditioners must be tested for energy efficiency locally at a third-party laboratory, but refrigerators can be tested abroad at the manufacturer’s laboratory. Recognized third parties can witness these tests and provide their signature on the manufacturer’s final report.
Mexico follows the CB scheme for safety, so if a manufacturer already has this, and national deviations were considered, then no additional testing is required. For other safety testing and energy efficiency verification, manufacturers can work with an accredited lab in Mexico or conduct tests in their home country through a lab that has an MOU with a Mexican Certification Body, approved by the Mexican government.
Researching each country’s requirements ahead of time can help you set a plan for developing and certifying your product as quickly and efficiently as possible – and to avoid costly delays.
3) Choose a third-party testing & certification provider
Working with an accredited or recognized third party is critical to accessing numerous markets around the world. Engaging a third party testing & certification provider from the beginning of your product lifecycle can also save you valuable time between product idea and launch. Look for a third party with up-to-date knowledge of various country regulations, multilingual service capability, established relationships with local authorities and National Certification Bodies (NCBs), and whose processes support predictable time to market.
4) Undergo product testing
Depending on the countries you want to access, your third-party testing & certification provider may first coordinate the required sampling activities before testing, on behalf of the local Certification Body. A sampling report is then issued to ensure your samples are representative of the family of products to be certified. Your provider will then evaluate your product against the required standards and share the findings. Depending on your compliance route, this may take the form of lab testing, witness testing, or a physical inspection. These reports will then be sent to the appropriate authorities in your target market for review and approval. For countries that require products to be tested locally by another party, CSA Group can help coordinate the process.
5) Launch Your Product
Once you receive a certificate of compliance, your product can bear the appropriate mark for safety and/or energy efficiency to help you gear up for your product launch.
After approvals, your third-party provider may stay involved during your product’s lifecycle to help you maintain international approvals and ensure that your compliance files are current and valid. At CSA Group, this includes:
- Annual inspection coordination with CSA Group’s global inspection network;
- Renewal notification and processing; and
- Notification of changes to national standards and regulations.
How CSA Group can Help
Our international certification team provides a one-stop solution to help you navigate and comply with local, regional, and international requirements to access target markets around the world. We also have vast international experience working with NCBs and local authorities worldwide. You will be assigned a project manager, who will be your single point of contact and seamlessly help manage product approvals from start to finish.
Read our white paper, “The Household Appliance Market in South America and Mexico,” to learn more about each country’s requirements and the certification process.
 Latin America Home Appliances Market – Growth, Trends, and Forecasts (2017-2022): December 2017. Retrieved from: https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/latin-america-home-appliances-market-industry
 Markets – Latin America: 2018. Retrieved from: http://electroluxgroup.com/en/markets-latin-america-16611/