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 September 2005 ASTM Standards Around the World
Augusto Mello, an economist, is the manager of the Peruvian standardization and accreditation body, INDECOPI. He has experience in international negotiations regarding technical barriers to trade in free trade agreements. Mello is the Peruvian representative to the Pan-American Standards Cooperation, known as COPANT, and the Andean Committee of Standards and Quality. From 2000 to 2004, he was the vice chair of the Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation.

The Use of ASTM Standards in Peru

by Augusto Mello

In Peru, standardization emerged as a systematic and organized activity in 1959 with the creation of the National Institute of Industrial Technical Standards and Certification. The function of INANTIC was to study and establish industrial technical standards and verify compliance with standards for products. In 1970, INANTIC was replaced by the creation of the Institute of Industrial Technology Research and Technical Standards (ITINTEC). When this institute ceased operations in 1991, the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and Intellectual Property, or INDECOPI, was created the following year. One of INDECOPI’s sections, the Commission on Technical and Commercial Regulations, assumed the function of the national standards body.

The principal functions of INDECOPI with regard to standardization are:

• Assembling technical committees;
• Approving voluntary Peruvian technical standards and mandatory Peruvian metrology standards; and
• Promoting and disseminating standardization in Peru.

INDECOPI’s development of voluntary Peruvian standards follows the provisions of the World Trade Organization’s Code of Good Practice for the Preparation, Adoption and Application of Standards. Therefore, the adoption or adaptation of standards respects the following hierarchy: international standards, regional standards, national standards and institutional standards.

Currently there is an inventory of close to 4,000 voluntary Peruvian standards and 72 technical committees have been assembled.

INDECOPI and ASTM International

INDECOPI, seeking to respond to its constituency, develops standards that meet national needs and for which it consults various users, manufacturers and general interest sectors, establishing standards development agendas in accordance with their needs. In this work, it is important to have at one’s disposal internationally recognized technical standards such as those issued by ASTM International. ASTM standards have been used in Peru since the 1950s, mainly in sectors such as cement, piping for transporting fluids, petroleum, natural gas and textiles.

To be able to use ASTM standards in a timely fashion and at reasonable costs, among other reasons, INDECOPI signed a memorandum of understanding with ASTM in June 2003. The purpose of this MOU is to:

• Promote communication between the two organizations;
• Avoid duplication of effort where possible;
• Use ASTM’s international resources to strengthen the Peruvian standardization system; and
• Promote worldwide acceptance of the use of ASTM standards.

It must be noted that, as a result of this MOU, several benefits have been realized, including:

• Timely electronic access to ASTM standards, provided at no cost for the work of our technical committees;
• Special agreements that allow INDECOPI to re-sell, adopt, photocopy and distribute ASTM standards in Peru;
• The opportunity to participate on ASTM technical committees; and
• The opportunity to have INDECOPI officials intern at ASTM.

Two years after signing the MOU, the use of ASTM standards in the preparation of Peruvian national standards has been growing. Seventy ASTM standards have been adopted as Peruvian standards, 17 have been adapted, and 250 have been used as reference in Peruvian standards. In addition, 145 ASTM standards have been sold to users in Peru.

Survey of INDECOPI Technical Committees

INDECOPI posed some questions to the secretaries of some of its technical committees regarding the use and application of ASTM standards, and following are the responses.

Cement, Lime and Plaster
ASTM standards have been used since the 1950s by cement producers; the ASTM designation appears together with the Peruvian national standards designation on packaging.

The cement, lime and plaster committee uses the following ASTM standards, through reference in Peruvian technical standards:

C 595-03, Specification for Blended Hydraulic Cements;
C 1157-03, Performance Specification for Hydraulic Cement; and
C 150-04, Specification for Portland Cement.

In specifying the largest construction projects, ASTM standards are also used. All ASTM test methods referred to in these standards are used by reference in Peruvian technical standards.

The cement, lime and plaster committee reported that it uses ASTM standards for various reasons:

• The industry adopted them before the creation of Peruvian national standards and users require them;
• Since 1950, the use of the American Concrete Institute’s Construction Code has spread, and it refers to ASTM standards.
• In the projects financed by the Multilateral Bank in the area of materials, ASTM standards are prescribed.

Natural Gas
The INDECOPI dry natural gas committee uses ASTM test methods to control the quality of natural gas, test methods for the components of conversion equipment for natural gas vehicles, and ASTM standards for the manufacturing of steel and copper. Standards used include the following:

D 1945-96, Test Method for Analysis of Natural Gas by Gas Chromatography;
D 4810-99, Test Method for Hydrogen Sulfide in Natural Gas Using Length-of-Stain Detector Tubes;
D 1988-95, Test Method for Mercaptans in Natural Gas Using Length-of-Stain Detector Tubes.

ASTM test methods are applied to control the quality parameters of natural gas by large companies in the sector. For natural gas supply for domestic residential, commercial and industrial installations, it is requested that the steel and copper piping used be manufactured based on the relevant ASTM standards.

The natural gas committee reported that it uses ASTM standards because they are widely used around the world. Several ASTM standards have been adopted as national standards because they demonstrate safety and technical consistency.

Textiles
ASTM test methods are used in the field of textiles because, according to the textile committee, they are best suited to the needs of the Peruvian textile industry. Ninety percent of textile companies and specialized laboratories in Peru use ASTM standards to perform verification tests on their finished products or those in development. Likewise, U.S. importers today require that ASTM test methods be used for certification, for the private sector and in some cases in the bidding processes for government entities.

Sanitation
The ASTM standards most used by the INDECOPI sanitation committee are those for iron (pipes, valves, accessories), rubber (rubber rings for pipe joints), and cement (concrete pipes). As in the case of the textile industry, the sanitation committee reports that ASTM standards are best suited to their sector’s needs.

All of the above-mentioned committees show real interest in participating on ASTM technical committees, since it would be of great use in their own work to have timely access to technical information offered by ASTM. We look forward to continuing to work with ASTM on international standards development. //

 
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