Quality Infrastructure

Component Introduction

By 2020 China aims to become an 'innovative society' and under the next 5 year plan the Chinese government has prioritised the development of China's product quality infrastructure regime to meet international standards, and has established a comprehensive standards system. The EUCTP, working under the EU China trade dialogues, will carry out activities to support this development.

China's WTO accession commitments required the completion of structural reforms and legislative and regulatory amendments. These reforms have led to an overhaul of China's national standards structure to comply with the WTO TBT Agreement, including national treatment for market access. However, notable gaps in China's QI system mean that it does not always meet international trade or industry requirements. These gaps include issues of transparency and the lack of coordination between competent bodies at the national and provincial level as well as a lack of uniform implementation of regulations.

Compared with more mature markets such as the EU, the US and Japan, the participation of industry in China's QI system is still limited. There is also strong government intervention in the marketplace which could result in stifling innovation. Testing laboratories outside China's first tier cities sometimes lack the capabilities to test products for all standards categories and the quality of laboratories and personnel differs. In addition, China does not have the 'bottom-up' QI system of more mature markets that requires a strong civil society and media involvement.

As a result, it is necessary to strengthen the QI of the country at national and provincial level. The EU-China Trade project will support this strengthening through reinforcement of:

  1. Standardisation; China needs to move from being an adopter of standards to a co-producer and exporter of standards in order to meet its industrial development targets;
  2. Technical regulations; There is a need to move from being prescriptive to setting up the framework and overall goals and limits so that the economic operators may use innovation as a means to achieving the objectives of the regulation;
  3. Conformity assessment and testing; China requires convergence of conformity assessment procedures and at the national level and international harmonisation of certification requirements including acceptance of internationally accredited conformity assessment bodies.
  4. Market Surveillance; As a major producer, user and exporter of consumer products, China needs to ensure effective product safety and protection for all consumers through strengthening its market surveillance at national (strategic) and provincial and local levels (tactical application).

Project activities are carried out under the direction of the EU-China dialogues (industrial Policy, Industrial Sectors and Products, Information Society, Consumer Product Safety, Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices) and their working groups.

Expert consultation and roundtables will support the regulatory drafting process, as well as build capacity building through expert exchanges, workshops and seminars, internships, study visits, comparative studies and personnel exchanges between European and Chinese institutions. EU-China cooperation will be strengthened at the regulatory level, supporting new cooperation with different sector groups, utilising new EU-China expert roundtables and sector expert groups, and strengthening cooperation between different trade association and industry sectors. All project activities follow a three-tier strategy of working at the central level, the provincial level and carrying out nationwide dissemination of project outputs through e-learning, webinars or videos. Collectively, these activities will help to improve EU-China cooperation and develop trade.

 

Team Introduction

Robert Huigen  – Component Expert
Robert Huigen is a Dutch National who has more than 40 years of experience, with 22 years of experience in the area of quality infrastructure, more specifically EU legislation, standardisation, accreditation and conformity assessment. Robert also has an extensive track record of managing teams of international and local staff as project leader in EU-funded projects.