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China Releases Opinion Document Related to Enterprise Standards, as Part of Ongoing Standardization Reform


China's newly established State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR), together with its National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Ministry of Science and Technology (MST), Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), Ministry of Finance (MOF), Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEEE), Ministry of Transport (MOT), and the People's Bank of China, released a document entitled Opinions on Implementing a "Pioneer"/"Frontrunner" System for Enterprise Standards.

Enterprise Standards are described further in China's revised standardization law, which entered into force earlier this year. According to Article 18 of the law, companies operating in China may develop enterprise standards according to their needs, and the State encourages enterprises to develop enterprise standards stricter than the other categories of standards (e.g., national, industry, or association standards).

This latest document states that the "pioneer"/"frontrunner" system is designed to improve the supply of medium- to high-end products and services through the use of enterprise standards, and to support incentive policies for high-quality standards development. This provides more insight into the Chinese government's vision for enterprise standards, beyond the introduction provided in China's revised standardization law.

In looking to further China's reform of its standardization system, this "pioneer"/"frontrunner" system will focus on the fundamental principles of (i) being demand-oriented, (ii) openness and fairness, (iii) innovation as a driving force, (iv) relying on the market, and (v) focusing on regulations. The Opinions document puts forth five tasks:

(i) fully implementing the self-declaration of enterprise product and service standards

(ii) determining the key areas of carrying out the "pioneer"/"frontrunner" system

(iii) establishing the "pioneer"/"frontrunner" evaluation mechanism

(iv) publishing the enterprise standard rankings forming a list of "pioneers"/"frontrunners" in enterprise standards

(v) establishing a dynamic adjustment mechanism for the system

Importantly, the Opinions highlights China's target for the self-disclosure of all enterprise products and services standards by 2020. Furthermore, 20% of these disclosed enterprise standards have to be stricter than national and industry standards, with the focus on the industries of (i) consumer products, (ii) equipment manufacturing, (iii) emerging industries, and (iv) service fields. This appears to go beyond the revised standardization law that entered into force this year, which only encourages and does not mandate the self-disclosure of association and enterprise standards on China's national platform for standards-related information. In the process of achieving these targets, the Opinions aims to set up a mechanism to determine the leading enterprises, i.e., the "pioneers"/"frontrunners," with advanced levels of core indicators in its standards of product or service.

Once these leading enterprises have been identified, the government will be encouraged to give preferences to the products and services of these enterprises under equal conditions during government procurement, and encourage the introduction of market capital into the establishment of a special fund of these "pioneers"/'frontrunners." Financial institutions will be encouraged and supported to offer credit assistance to these enterprises as well.

Enterprise standards as a category have been of interest to ANSI and its members, since it is a unique category not found in the U.S. standards system. There have been some initial concerns that this "pioneer"/"frontrunner" system could be a potential barrier to trade if it looks to favor and provide incentives to Chinese companies, although there are no indications yet as to a timeline for the implementation of the Opinions or how these leading enterprises will be identified or ranked. Nonetheless, ANSI will continue to monitor this issue as it develops and provide periodic updates. Questions on the Opinions can be directed to [email protected].

A summary of the Opinions can be found on SAC's website in Chinese.

ANSI and the Standardization Administration of China (SAC) are jointly organizing an industry roundtable focusing on enterprise standards in Hangzhou, China, on July 17, 2018. [see related news item].

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Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]