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International affairs

EU-China

European and Chinese flags

DG Enterprise and Industry is actively involved in addressing issues encountered by EU industry when operating in or exporting to China, and by EU citizens faced with certain problems regarding products from China.

 

Background

On 25 June 2001, the EU General Affairs Council approved the proposed EU-China Industrial Policy and Regulatory Cooperation Dialogues pdf - 32 KB [32 KB] . They were developed within the framework of the EU-China Joint Committee, based on the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation between the European Economic Community and the People's Republic of China pdf - 28 KB [28 KB] of 1985.

EU-China Regulatory Cooperation (DG Enterprise and Industry/AQSIQ)

Since 2001, a regulatory dialogue has been established with the Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). The dialogue, called "the Consultation Mechanism on Industrial Products and WTO/TBT", promotes regulatory convergence between the EU and China to facilitate the free and safe circulation of goods, to eliminate obstacles to trade and investment, and to improve the quality and safety of Chinese goods on the EU market.

It is held on a regular basis between services of DG Enterprise and Industry and the AQSIQ.

The consultation mechanism, which includes dispute resolution provisions, should also improve mutual understanding of both parties' product safety rules. It provides for a High Level Steering Committee for industrial products, which can call annual meetings, discuss major issues, and plan future co-operation as well as forming emergency working groups on several sectoral issues.

It covers all industrial products that are subject to technical regulations in the DG Enterprise and Industry portfolio, and also industry-wide issues such as conformity assessment (including certification and accreditation) and standardisation.

The Consultation Mechanism ensures contributions and proper involvement of both Chinese and European companies.

The 11th Plenary meeting, Brussels, 10 September 2013

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:
 
Conformity Assessment
 
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.
 
Standardisation
 
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):

  • aerosol containers (e.g. sprays)
  • textiles
  • packaging material

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.
 
More pictures from the dialogue

EU-China Industrial Policy Dialogue

Dialogue with NDRC

The agreement to launch the dialogue on industrial policy between the European Commission and the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) was signed in Beijing on 17 September 2003.

It provides for a dialogue to enhance mutual understanding of current and forthcoming policy approaches, legislation and related issues in the industrial sector. It aims to facilitate EU business access in China, to promote fair trade and to ensure a business-friendly level playing field for industrial operators in China.

The NDRC focuses on long-term industrial and economic development and has a major role in the reform of the overall economic structure. It combines the role of a western-style industry ministry with some functions of a ministry for the economy, and is responsible for development policies and strategies in many industrial sectors.

The industrial policy dialogue includes permanent consultations and annual co-operation meetings in Beijing and Brussels. It provides an umbrella under which industry sectors with crucial interests in China can address issues in sector-specific working groups. Working groups can be established at any time, subject to the agreement of both parties.

Dialogue with MIIT

A Memorandum of Understanding pdf - 849 KB [849 KB] between DG Enterprise and Industry and the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) was also signed on 30 November 2009, on the occasion of the twelfth EU-China Summit in Nanjing.

DG Enterprise and Industry and the MIIT have very similar competences. They are both responsible for industrial policy and cover a large number of industrial sectors from the automotive sector to information technology. Exchange of information and experience, preliminary information about their respective legislative initiatives and the creation of a forum to debate potential or existing difficulties for their respective industry were deemed useful by both sides. It was therefore decided to establish a formal dialogue between both administrations.

The Memorandum of Understanding gave also the opportunity to acknowledge the transfer of some competences on SME policy and Shipbuilding from the NDRC and the COSTIND (former Chinese Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence) to the MIIT. The arrangements previously concluded on SME cooperation pdf - 782 KB [782 KB] and on the establishment of a dialogue in the shipbuilding industry pdf - 398 KB [398 KB] remain unchanged and are now referred to in the new Memorandum of Understanding with the MIIT.

It was also agreed to set up three working groups with MIIT on: Raw Materials, Industrial Energy Efficiency and Automobile.

This industrial policy dialogue with both the NDRC and the MIIT complements the European Commission's existing dialogue with the Chinese Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) on industrial product regulation. Like the Consultation Mechanism, the industrial policy dialogues with the NDRC and the MIIT will ensure contributions and proper involvement of both Chinese and European companies.

The Third Plenary meeting, Brussels, 11 December 2013

This year's plenary meeting, the third of a series, takes place three weeks after the EU-China Summit in Bejing, and one month after the 3rd Plenum of the Communist Party - encouraging discussions of recent developments on both sides. It also coincides with the 10th anniversary of the "Comprehensive Strategic Partnership" between China and the EU.

The Chinese Vice-Minister for industrial policy, Su Bo, headed a Chinese delegation which was welcomed by Daniel Calleja, Director General of the Commission's Enterprise and Industry Directorate.
 
At the meeting, both sides gave updates on recent industrial policy developments in their respective countries. Director General Calleja presented the upcoming industrial policy communication, which focuses on improving the framework conditions for European companies. Vice-Minister SU reported on the reforms announced last month during the third plenum of the Communist Party of China, which focused on giving a greater role to market forces in the economy and favouring the development of the private sector. He also reported on measures for overcapacity reduction in several industrial sectors.
 
Both leaders reviewed the cooperation between both administrations in five main areas: raw materials, the automotive industry, industrial energy efficiency, shipbuilding and SME policy.  Future  cooperation was also discussed in the fields of space and standardisation.
 
Next steps
 
In 2014 Deputy Director-General of Enterprise and Industry, Antti Peltomäki will lead a Mission for Growth to Chengdu from 21 to 23 October 2014 with a delegation of European companies. The mission will form part of a follow up to the Mission for Growth conducted by European Commission Vice President Tajani in July 2013, to promote business opportunities between EU and China in the "green growth" field.

 

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