Over the past ten years continuous advances have been made in the understanding and convergence of EU and Chinese product regulations - vital to the internationalisation and success of companies in both the EU and China. Today a regulatory dialogue focused on greater convergence of technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment.
This year, the EU and China celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. As part of this partnership, today in Brussels the 11th meeting of the regulatory dialogue "Plenary of EU – China Consultation Mechanism on Industry and WTO/TBT" was held.
The dialogue's overall objective is to help reduce costs for companies and increase productivity for businesses on both sides, by promoting cooperation and mutual understanding in industrial and SME policy between the EU and China. Its main target is the greater convergence of EU and Chinese regulations.
Regulatory convergence is mutually beneficial: it facilitates trade, reduces burdens on enterprises and helps industries’ competitiveness on a global scale. SMEs in particular need simpler regulations and accessible information about applicable requirements. Currently regulatory divergences between EU and Chinese systems still create barriers to trade and inflate compliance costs.
Today's meeting focused on three main aspects:
Excessively burdensome conformity assessment procedures can act as a serious market access barrier. At the last Plenary Meeting of the Regulatory Dialogue in October 2012 it was agreed to intensify cooperation on product risk assessment, risk management and market surveillance. This included support for the simplification of the Chinese Compulsory Certification (CCC) System for products – a system which can be complex, lengthy and costly for European companies, and for SMEs in particular. This commitment was endorsed in a Joint Statement signed by Vice-President Tajani and AQSIQ Minister Zhi Shuping on 19 July 2013 in Beijing.
Industry and in particular SMEs, need clear, transparent and easily accessible market access information to support their internationalisation. Currently, over 300 European Standards form the basis for Chinese standards.
The Commission and the Chinese authorities would like to intensify cooperation on standard convergence and extend the number and the standard information of products covered by CESIP (China-Europe Standardisation Information Platform). This would provide companies with easily accessible, complete, clear and free of charge information.
The intention is that CESIP would give standard information on three new product categories (online as of November):
Further additional new categories will be defined during the forthcoming meeting of the "Standardisation" working group that will be held in Shenzhen in November. The group would also welcome suggestions for new categories from industry stakeholders.
Technical regulation convergence
Dialogues on regulatory policy, as well as specific dialogues in industry areas are aimed at finding ways of reducing the costs arising from differences in regulations, for example by basing regulations on common standards, or mutually recognising the results of conformity assessment procedures.
Anna SOLE MENA