On 6 April 2021, SAC released the Key Points for National Standardization in China in 2021. The document is aimed at guiding China’s standardization work in 2021. Below are key takeaways from SESEC:

  1. It is the first time that China systematically proposes to leverage on standardization to achieve the CO2 emissions peak target in 2030. Article 16 of the document states that the government “shall develop a standardization action plan for achieving the emissions peak target and improve the current standards system supporting this policy”. In the following articles, specific measures are provided for various areas, such as accelerating the development of mandatory standards in energy efficiency, upgrading standards in the petrochemical field, and improving emissions monitoring and control standards. These priorities reflect SAC’s awareness of the vital role that standardization should play in supporting China’s “green transition”, putting forward tailored solutions.
  2. Pilot projects will be carried out for digitalized standards. Article 52 of the document reads that the State “shall implement pilot projects on machine readable standards and database standards, explore new management methods and mechanism for national standards under the digitalization context”. Furthermore, Article 90 highlights that the State “shall closely follow the development of the application of digital technologies in standardization activities, and strengthen research on advanced standardization technology”. These two articles show that SAC recognizes that digitalization is the main direction of standardization work in the future. In this regard, attempts and practices of international/overseas SDOs like ISO/IEC and CEN/CENELC, could provide a good reference.
  3. The management of sector standards and local standards will be strengthened. Article 48 of the document underlines that the State “shall determine the code and scope of sector standards, and further promote the filing of sector and local standards”. Furthermore, Article 26 stresses the need to “carry out supervision and evaluation work on sector standards, and supervision and random inspection of local standards, so as to improve their quality”. These articles reflect SAC’s efforts to strengthen the unified management on sector standards. Actors from all over the world will benefit from these endeavours and enjoy more complete sector standards information. However, transparency issues still need to be further addressed in sector standardization activities, considering the fact that a large number of sector standards are frequently used to support regulations and conformity assessment schemes.
  4. Setting up an international standards conversion system. Article 67 stipulates that the State “shall facilitate the establishment of an international standards conversion system, hence improving the uniformity of Chinese standards and international standards”. Nevertheless, the article also stresses the need to “improve the rationality and effectiveness of adopting international standards”, implying that modifications may be adopted to meet China’s specific conditions and needs.
  5. Intensifying research on the standardization work in key regions and countries. Article 75 stipulates “to intensify research on the standardization strategies, policies and systems in key regions and countries, and support international standardization cooperation and exchanges”. These efforts might benefit the European standardization system as it can gain more visibility and attention in China.
  6. Improving standardization-related regulations. From Article 79 to 82, the document lists the ongoing and planned standardization regulations and policies. Specifically, it is stressed to accelerate the revision of the Administrative Measures for National Standards, of the Administrative Measures for Sector Standards, and of the Administrative Measures for Enterprise Standards; as well as to complete the drafting of the Measures for Promoting Association Standards.
  7. Establishing an inter-technical committee (TC) communication mechanism. Article 85 points out that the State “shall explore the establishment of communication mechanisms among national professional standardization TCs, aimed at promoting horizontal coordination, communication and cooperation”. This addresses the overlaps and duplication problems widely existing within the standardization system for emerging cross-disciplinary technologies and products. Its development and effect worth continuous observation.

Click Annex 2-Key Points of National Standardisation in 2021 for the English translation of the document.