|dc.description.abstract||In this article, the author aims to demonstrate the importance of quality issues in national strategies for increasing productivity and competitiveness in Latin America. Quality is an important factor in today's increasingly globalized and liberalized markets, and it is considered that the application of quality management techniques will make a positive contribution to the competitive performance of countries, economic sectors and individual organizations. Since competitiveness contributes to sustainable development, the widespread diffusion and implementation of quality management seems desirable from a national point of view. Recently in Latin America there has been a growing tendency for governments to establish programmes that promote and support the dissemination of quality management techniques. In this respect, quality issues will play an increasingly important role in the economic and social development objectives of the countries in the region. Nevertheless, the implementation of total quality management (TQM); innovations has not proved to be either easy or rapid: for example, in Latin America the ISO 9000 standards for quality systems have not spread as quickly as in most other regions of the world. The author identifies market considerations, limited access to resources, traditional management practices and macroeconomic conditions as obstacles that have limited the level of quality awareness in the region. These obstacles may be associated with market flaws that occur within companies, between companies and in factor markets. Various governments have therefore chosen to promote quality management techniques in order to make the necessary adjustments to these flaws. The article concludes with an overview of the activities carried out in some selected Latin American countries in order to enhance the diffusion of ISO 9000 quality management systems.