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China Revises Import-export Rules

Chinese legislators are revising a 13-year-old law on the inspection of imports and exports to unify inspection standards on foreign and domestic goods.

A unified certification management system will be established so that domestic and foreign commodities will be quarantined and inspected according to the same standard, said Li Changjiang, head of the State General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

The new management system will use a single set of technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures to inspect commodities.

It will use a single catalogue of products subject to compulsory product certification, and one obligatory standard mark for commodities made in China or abroad and charge them equally, Li said.

This is a major step aimed at fulfilling the commitments China made when negotiating entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO), he added.

Under the current management system, imports have to comply with both the quality certification on imported goods and the safety certification that Chinese products have to obtain.

The new draft law aims to abolish this requirement for dual certification, said Cheng Fang, deputy director of the Certification and Accreditation Administration.

Under the draft amendments, quarantine and inspection staff will be duty-bound to keep commercial secrets they may discover during quarantine and inspection.

The draft amendments also revise the terminology in line with that used in WTO rules.

China's law on standardization divides standards into "compulsory" and "recommended" standards, while WTO regulations use the term "non-compulsory" instead of "recommended".

The draft amendments stipulate that national technical regulations, which are compulsory, must be applied to the imports and exports listed in the quarantine and inspection catalogue.

The non-compulsory international standards will be applied when China has no technical regulations on the commodities under quarantine and inspection.

Li yesterday reported on the draft law to the ongoing 26th session of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress, where the draft will receive its first reading.

Legislators vote for a draft law or amendments after three readings under normal conditions, according to the Legislative Procedure Law.

(China Daily February 28, 2002)


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