Mercosul and the Technical Barriers

Mercosul member countries have created a working subgroup seeking to eliminate possible technical barriers that could emerge in their market trade. It´s called SGT nº 3 "Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment", coordinated nationwide by Inmetro.

The treaty creating the Mercosul was signed in Asuncion, Paraguay, on March 26, 1991, by the four-member countries - Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. The objectives of the treaty are: a more competitive presence of the four countries in the world trade market; to benefit the economies in scale; to stimulate the trade flow with the rest of the world; to foster efforts to open the economy of the four member-countries and to set a limit to the activities of our society, which is considered the main "engine" in the integration process.

The basic characteristic of Mercosul are: free circulation of goods and services; the establishment of a common external tariff (TEC); to set a common trade policy in reference to other countries; to coordinate the position of the Mercosul countries in regional and international forums; to coordinate the macroeconomic and sectorial policies; to harmonize the legislations on specific areas, in order to strengthen the integration process.

Within the Mercosul structure, there are currently 14 working subgroups. The SGT-3 subgroup (technical regulations and conformity assessment) is made up of the following commissions: Metrology, Security of Electrical Products; Conformity Assessment; Toys, Compressed Natural Gas; Nutrition; and Automotive Industry.

The Subgroup #3 establishes similar parameters for the member-states, avoiding the Technical Regulations and the procedures for Conformity Assessment, when not harmonized, to create possible technical barriers to trade. So far, more than 230 Technical Regulations were harmonized.