To support the implementation of the China’s new Standardisation Law in the area of mandatory national standards, SAMR/SAC developed the Administrative Measures for Mandatory National Standards in 2018. In October 2018, its draft for comments was released and a lot of comments were fed back to the SAC. On 1 May 2019, China government notified to WTO the draft for approval of this regulation, and the deadline of the call for comments is 30 June 2019.
- In this new edition, the commenting period of mandatory national standards was extended from 60 days rather than 30.
- It also stipulated that the explanation (when necessary) of a mandatory national standard and the national mandatory standard itself have the same legal effect.
- As a noticeable change, it added that the copyright policy of international standardization organizations shall be complied with when the China national mandatory standards referred relevant standards from these organization.
- Furthermore, in Article 6, the new draft pointed out that mandatory national standards should be developed on the basis of international standards and considering China’s actual situation.
While it is commendable that China is making its mandatory standard system more reasonable, showing its respect for copyright issues, and holding positive attitude toward adopting international standards, China still has to manage to alleviate the worries of its trade partners on the system’s ambiguity. For instance, the draft still doesn’t provide a clear conflict-avoiding mechanism for the development of mandatory standards, still doesn’t appoint specific supervision departments to supervise their implementation, and still lack detailed requirements on transition period which will help industries and enterprises adopt to the new situation more smoothly.
A good regulation shouldn’t be the barrier of trade but the promoter. To avoid bringing about too much uncertainty and creating too much differences, China should adopt more international standards in its mandatory standard system and improve it based on the international standard management practice, which have been proven to be the most efficient way to reduce technical barrier and boost trade.