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Import and Export Laws Revised to Facilitate Trade
China has revised its laws on import and export commodity inspections in order to be more compatible with rules laid down by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and to facilitate international trade, a senior inspection official said on April 30.

The amended law, passed by the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress on Sunday, will take effect from October 1. It is the first legal revision to be endorsed by the committee since China joined the WTO late last year.

"The amendments are a testimony that the country is conscientiously fulfilling its commitments to the WTO," Li Changjiang, chief of General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, said in an interview yesterday.

One substantial change is about how the "List of Import and Export Commodities Subject to Inspection by the Commodity Inspection Authorities" is based.

The former 13-year-old law on import and export goods stated that the list should be made and modified in the light of demands in the development of foreign trade.

But in keeping with the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, China has made it clear that the making and adjusting of the list should observe the protection, health and safety of humans, animals and plants, the environment, the prevention of deceptive practices and requirements for national security, Li said.

Export and import commodities included in the list shall be examined in accordance with the compulsory national standards, the amendments say.

The conformity assessment procedures include procedures for sampling, testing and inspection, evaluation, verification and assurance of conformity, registration, accreditation and approval.

Those not included in the list shall be examined according to foreign standards as designated by the National Administration for Import and Export Commodities Inspection.

Other changes noted are about national treatment and the confidentiality of inspection information.

Between 1989 and 2001, China's commodity inspection authorities checked 32.4 million batches of goods valued at US$1,330 billion, statistics from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine indicate.

More than 270,000 batches of import and export goods failed to meet the country's relevant standards, according to Li.

(China Daily May 1, 2002)

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