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Colombia: MOU Partner since 2001

Collaboration in Several Areas

Recognized by its government as Colombia’s national standards body, Instituto Colombiano de Normas Técnicas y Certificación, or ICONTEC International, studies, adopts and promotes standards in more than 42 areas. The organization also certifies management systems and products in the country.

Hans Peter Knudsen recently became the ICONTEC CEO and was welcomed by ASTM International’s global cooperation staff. In response, Knudsen writes: “I am convinced that through the support of people like you and the institution you represent, we can continue along the path of institutional growth and, even more importantly, that of the people who are devoted to working for our countries.”

Through the memorandum of understanding between INCONTEC International — the first signatory to an MOU with ASTM International — and ASTM, more than 1,000 ASTM standards have been used as the basis of national standards in Colombia, and more than 300 have been adopted, consulted or referenced. The standards come from 91 of ASTM’s technical committees, particularly:

  • A01 on Steel, Stainless Steel and Related Alloys;
  • C09 on Concrete and Concrete Aggregates;
  • D01 on Paint and Related Coatings, Materials and Applications;
  • D13 on Textiles; and
  • D20 on Plastics.

Close to 90 Colombians are ASTM International members.

ASTM International works with additional organizations in Colombia to facilitate the adoption and use of standards. An online center, for example, provides electronic access for industry to published ASTM International standards and other technical information through an agreement with the Asociación Colombiana de Productores de Concreto (ASOCRETO). ASOCRETO, which cooperates with ICONTEC, manages secretariats for standards committees for cement, concrete and concrete aggregates, concrete pipes, and precast concrete.

ASOCRETO director Manuel Lascarro, who has been an ASTM member since 2003 and is a former ASTM board member, says that the Colombian cement and concrete industry has benefited from ASTM standards and technical input for national standards in his country. “The access to ASTM documents speeds up the processes of the national standardization, enriches the technical discussions inside the technical committees, and allows us to receive and to share knowledge that helps improve the quality and safety in the construction sector in Colombia,” he says.

Colombian groups have regularly taken advantage of ASTM training, particularly the course for aviation fuels, which has been taught twice this year as well as three times each in 2013 and 2012. In the last few years, training sessions have also been held that addressed construction, biofuels, cement and concrete, and biodegradable plastics, among other topics. In 2012, co-sponsored by the Federación Iberoamericana del Hormigón Premezclado, a weeklong intensive training was held on the topic of ready -mixed concrete. In addition, several Colombian laboratories participate in ASTM Proficiency Testing Programs, including those on petroleum products, textiles, plastics, and electrical insulating liquids and gases. And ASTM staff members hold outreach meetings related to aerospace, biofuels, road safety and sustainable construction as well as for academia on a regular basis. This fall, ASTM has met with Colombian trade association representatives.

As part of another initiative, ASTM has provided input for a work plan that Colombia’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism has proposed to the Standards Alliance in support of trade and economic development in Colombia. (The Standards Alliance is a collaboration between USAID and the American National Standards Institute that provides assistance specifically related to implementing the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement.) ASTM global cooperation staff has indicated that ASTM standards are available for biofuel and biomedicine that would be relevant for the work plan.

To learn more about the ASTM International MOU Program, visit the ASTM website.

National Standards Body: Instituto Colombiano de Normas Técnicas y Certificación

Location: Bogotá, Colombia

Major Activities: Standards and certification, education and training

MOU Signed with ASTM: 2001

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.