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China in International Standardization

After China’s reform and opening‐up, China gradually rejoined international standardization organizations—such as ISO, IEC and ITU from 1978. In China’s 1989 version of Standardization Law, China began to specifically encourage the adoption of international standards.

Article 4: The State shall encourage the active adoption of international standards.

There were some arguments in China and internationally regarding which organizations can be regarded as international standards development organizations. Currently, about 40 organizations were endorsed by China as “international standards development organizations. However, when “China in International Standardization” is referenced, it generally refers to ISO, IEC and ITU. [1]

With China’s economic developments in the 21st century, for the international standards, compared to Standardization Law 1988 version, the 2018 version made the following statement:

Article 8:  The State shall promote participation in international standardization activities, engagement in international cooperation and exchanges on standardization, participation in the development of international standards, adoption of international standards in the Chinese context, and harmonization of Chinese and foreign standards.

The State shall encourage enterprises, social organizations, educational institutions, research institutes and other organizations to participate in international standardization activities.

Meanwhile, international standards projects proposed by China and integrating Chinese technologies into international standards like ISO, IEC and ITU became a priority. International standards can be implemented globally. For Chinese standards going global, international standardization is always the preference and considered the optimal approach. In many documents, China has proposed supporting Chinese enterprises to participate in or lead the development of international standards, promote the “export” of Chinese standards, and enhance the international influence of Chinese standards.[2]

In recent decades, China has made great strides in international standardization activities and strived to become a prominent voice among international standardization platforms.

Concerning ISO and IEC, China’s integration has continued to improve. The adoption rate of international standards in key areas (such as IEC) reached 70 percent, while the ISO contribution rate ranked sixth and the IEC contribution rate ranked fifth.

[1] SAC website  国家标准化管理委员会  http://www.sac.gov.cn/

[2] China’s Standardization Law of 2017

Around 870 ISO/IEC TCs/SCs have their mirror TCs/SCs in China, while there are still around 60 ISO/IEC TCs/SCs where China does not have any mirror TCs/SCs.

China actively participates in international standardization work. In the fields relating to international standardization, the adoption rate of international standards reached more than 85%. ISO ranked sixth internationally, while IEC ranked fifth. Around 870 ISO/IEC TCs/SCs have their mirror TCs/SCs in China, while there are still around 60 ISO/IEC TCs/SCs to which China does not have no mirror TCs/SCs.

In 2008, China joined the ISO management system and is a member of the ISO Council and TMB. In 2011, China joined the IEC management system and is the member of IEC CB, SMB, MSB, and CAB. As of Oct 2019, China had more than 3000 experts registered in ISO/IEC.

According to the China Annual Standardization Development Report 2019, China now holds 88 secretariats of ISO and IEC TCs/SCs. 73 ISO and IEC Chairmen/Vice-Chairmen came from China. In 2019, China signed 97 bilateral and multilateral cooperation documents on standardization with 54 national and regional standardization bodies and international organizations, and issued 721 foreign language versions of Chinese national standards. China has adopted more than 10,000 (including IDT and MOD) ISO/IEC standards.

Item Count
Secretariats of ISO and IEC TCs/SCs 88
ISO and IEC Chairmen/vice-chairmen 73
Bilateral and multilateral cooperation documents on standardization with 54 national and regional standardization bodies and international organizations 97
Foreign language versions of Chinese national standards 721
Adopted ISO/IEC standards (including IDT and MOD) 10,000

In 2019, China proposed 238 new standard proposals, including 150 in ISO and 77 in IEC and 11 in JTC1.

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