This piece was originally published in the July 2016 issue of electroindustry.
Craig Updyke, Director, Trade and Commercial Affairs, NEMA
Already, 2016 is proving to be a successful year for NEMA’s activities in Mexico and Latin America. From product standards to energy efficiency and market development, NEMA is engaged.
Gustavo Dominguez Poo and Ricardo Vazquez conduct day-to-day operations at the NEMA regional office in Mexico City. They coordinate activities with NEMA staff and product sections that support the office in their annual budgets.
NEMA participates directly in Mexico’s standardization committees on electrical safety and energy efficiency. The goal is to align Mexican standards with mandatory standards already in place in the U.S. For example, NEMA Mexico participated as a provider of up-to-date technical information in the effort to set a mandatory standard for three-phase electric motors, which led to harmonization of efficiency values in Mexico with current U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) requirements. On energy efficiency, NEMA is recognized by Mexico’s federal energy-efficiency agency, known as CONUEE, as a key stakeholder in its efforts.
NEMA has also participated in a CONUEE technical working group devoted to a developing a new mandatory standard for general service LED lamps. These efforts have resulted in draft specifications and test methods harmonized with NEMA and U.S. requirements. NEMA members will be able to review and comment on the final draft before it becomes effective. In addition, NEMA is participating in the CONUEE working group on a mandatory standard for external power supplies to maintain market access. Similarly, the new edition of the mandatory standard for lamp ballasts and drivers under development reflects NEMA’s positions and would keep the market open for U.S.-style products.
NEMA Mexico worked with the Arc Welding Section to institute a two-year compliance period for a new federal regulation for home use of welding equipment. Now efforts are focused on a new standard for arc-welding power sources to maintain access for NEMA member companies and reduce deviations with a view toward eventual standards harmonization for North America via CANENA (the Council for Harmonization of Electrotechnical Standardization of the Nations of the Americas).
Member companies in product sections that support NEMA Mexico receive monthly status reports and timely updates on key developments. Mr. Dominguez and Mr. Vazquez also participate with sections at their respective meetings. NEMA Mexico also provided invaluable assistance to the NEMA trade mission in June to Mexico City and Monterrey.
Forging Links in Latin America
Mexico City is the operational base for NEMA’s Latin America activities, which are focused on countries with which there are U.S. free-trade agreements.
Participation at the recent COPANT (Pan American Standards Commission) annual meeting in Ecuador was a perfect opportunity to renew a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between NEMA and the standards development authority in Colombia, ICONTEC. The MOU ensures that ICONTEC may access any NEMA standard as a basis for developing a Colombian national standard.
The agreement followed a visit by Mr. Dominguez to ICONTEC in the capital, Bogotá. While Colombia has been convinced to change labelling requirements for lighting products, further steps are needed to relax unnecessarily restrictive product-certification processes.
This year, Mr. Dominguez will visit Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Chile; NEMA has proposed standards-sharing MOUs with standards institutions in each of these countries.
In Nicaragua, NEMA’s regular contacts with the national fire department have helped to drive the department’s enforcement of the National Electrical Code®. The government is expected to adopt Mexico’s energy-efficiency standards for motors and lighting, keeping the market open for NEMA-type products as the country implements plans to build 800,000 houses in the coming years.