Brazil (official name: the Federative Republic of Brazil) is the fifth largest country in the world, both in terms of population and geographic area. It is the seventh largest economy in the world, the largest country and economy in South America.
Brazil has a fairly strict regime for technical standards. The National Institute of Metrology, Quality, and Technology (INMETRO) is the primary operational agency, and it is led by the National Council of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality, CONMETRO. Basically, INMETRO is responsible for implementing the quality standards established by CONMETRO.
As in most countries, compliance with technical standards for certain products are voluntary, and in other product areas it is mandatory. INMETRO is a party to various mutual recognition arrangements which permit accreditation and conformity assessment for mandatory standards to be conducted by laboratories outside of Brazil.
Brazil is a founding member of the massive South American customs union known as MERCOSUR (the Common Market of the Southern Cone). MERCOSUR consists of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Suriname are associate members. Customs unions are designed to free up trade and investment amongst members, while maintaining a common external tariff on products from non-members.
Under the MERCOSUR treaty agreement, tariffs have been eliminated; the movement of labor, goods and services is unrestricted; capital investment is promoted; macroeconomic policy is coordinated; and foreign-trade policies and tariffs rates for countries outside the MERCOSUR block are harmonized.
Brazil is also a member of the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and prior to that, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).