On May 12, 2020, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) published the Key Work Points for the Standardization of Industry and Communication Technology in 2020, setting the objectives and tasks for the standardization work under MIIT (hereinafter, the “MIIT Standardization”) in the coming year. SESEC’s observation on and summary of the document are as follows.
- Conduct strategic research and develop standardization policies and regulations
In 2020, MIIT is planning to
- Organize research on the strategy of MIIT Standardization for the 14th five-year period, proposing the general thoughts, objectives, key tasks and safeguard measures for the MIIT Standardization in the coming three to five years
- Draw up guidelines on constructing the MIIT mandatory standards system, guiding the development of recommended national and sectoral standards systems supporting mandatory national standards in key areas.
- Publish the Administrative Measures for the Technical Committee for Standard Development of MIIT, and the Administrative Measures for Developing MIIT Sector Standards.
- Be aware of and deal with coordination problems among standardization organizations
In the past, coordination has barely been seen among standardization organizations in emerging technical areas. This document proposes to “improve the cross-field cooperation mechanism among different technical standardization organizations”, and “facilitate standards system construction and standards coordination in key cross-industry and cross-sector areas”. This will not only help address the problems of redundancy, overlaps, and misuse of resources in standards development, but will also be beneficial for the management on standardization work.
- Put forward the work focus of mandatory national standards and their supporting standards.
The document states: “strengthen the development of mandatory national standards for consumer goods safety, equipment safety, limits on toxic and hazardous substances, industrial safety, resource security, and security of key network equipment”, and “priority should be given to the development of standards for key technology and products, fundamental and public welfare standards on terms, testing methods, quality and safety, energy conservation and environmental protection, and project construction, as well as supporting standards for mandatory national standards”.
- Improve the timeliness and scale of sector standards.
The document states: “keep the average lifetime of sector standards within five years by confirming, revising and abolishing them to gradually reduce the size of sector standards for general products.”
- Encourage association standards to go global and expand the influence of Chinese standards
The document states: “support social organizations to participate in global standardization activities and accelerate the internationalization of association standards.” However, there are no more specific measures provided.
- Point out the key areas for adopting international standards.
The document states: “establish a working mechanism for tracking and adopting international standards in key areas of industrial development and of consumer concern, such as engineering machinery, baby supplies and integrated circuits. Carry out an in-depth comparative analysis of China’s standards and advanced international standards”, and “focus on accelerating the adoption of international standards for basic and general requirements, testing methods, quality and safety, energy conservation and environmental protection, and further narrow the gap between China’s standards and advanced international standards to achieve an adoption rate of more than 90% in key areas.”
- Sector standards go global.
The document states: “promote the development of foreign language versions of mandatory national standards and sector standards to serve the economic development of countries along the “One Belt One Road”.
- Promote the full-text disclosure of sector standards, exerting a negative impact on copyright protection.
The document states: “establish a full-text disclosure system for sector standards and make a number of sector standards texts available to the public free of charge in pilot areas”.
- Implement the policy of entrusting national TCs to develop sector standards, but with sectoral TCs still as the mainstay in developing sector standards.
The document states: “launch in due course the work entrusting the national standardization technical committees to be engaged in the development, revision and technical management of sector standards in designated fields.”
MIIT’s standardization work in 2020 will continue concentrating on improving relevant standardization systems internally and facilitating the output of Chinese standards and influence externally. Some existing problems in the MIIT Standardization system will be addressed or improved, such as lack of coordination among different standardization organizations and insufficient information disclosure of sector standards, while other problems that overseas stakeholders are most concerned with, including the transparency and participation in sector standardization work, have not been mentioned.
In addition, the full-text disclosure of sector standards may seriously impact the protection of copyright. Because many sector standards are converted from overseas standards, it is necessary for MIIT to elaborate on its principles for the full-text disclosure as well as the measures that MIIT will take to protect overseas stakeholders’ copyright.