In essence standard practice as quality and safety increasingly overtake quantity as main consumer concerns an upgrading in production standards is regarded as the natural way forward.
That is the logic of Minister Li Changjiang, who said China must triple the number of new standards to 6,000 each year till 2010, especially for farm produce quality, animal and plant disease prevention and the detection of any harmful substances in food.
By 2010, 80 percent of national standards compared with 40 percent now would be derived from advanced, international standards, Li, chief of the State Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, said yesterday.
Speaking at a national standardization meeting in Beijing the official said formulation of standards must be done in tandem with economic development needs and contribute to building an "innovative nation."
At least 44 percent of China's 21,342 national standards needed to be thoroughly revised and another 11 percent-- or 2,000--had become obsolete and must be abolished, Li said.
A national standard should be assessed for efficacy within five years of its issuance, said Cui Hua, an official with the Standardization Administration of China (SAC).
However, largely because of funding shortages, many national standards including those for food quality had been in use for more than a decade without being assessed or revised.
The situation was expected to change during the 11th Five-Year Guidelines (2006-10) when the SAC reviews national standards every five years, Cui said.
The SAC will upgrade 9,500 "outdated" national standards within three years and formulate 6,000 standards each year compared with annual average of 2,000 in recent years, SAC sources said.
At least 1,700 standards or technical codes will be formulated to help improve the quality and safety of agricultural products, to prevent and control major animal epidemics and plant diseases, according to a draft guideline for standardization work during the 2006-10 period.
Another 1,000 standards will be devised to screen and detect traces of harmful and poisonous residues and micro-organisms in products, says the draft document, which was submitted to officials and experts for deliberation yesterday.
Safety of coal mining is another focus of the country's standardization work. At least 30 standards for prevention and control of fires or floods at collieries are planned before 2010, according to the proposed guideline.
(China Daily March 24, 2006)