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China - Regulation and Legislation

On July 16, 2010, the Chinese government’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued a proposed update to the “Draft Measures for the Pollution Control of Electrical and Electronic Product,” the so-called “China RoHS,” for public consultation until August 19, 2010. One key feature is that they have changed “Electronic Information Products” to “Electronic and Electrical Products.” They have not defined the new scope yet. The proposed updates would change the coverage of products by modifying the definition from “Electronic Information Product” to “Electrical and Electronic Product.” The new definition of “Electrical and Electronic Product” is defined in Article 3, as “equipment or its accessories which work with a voltage rating not exceeding 1500 volts for direct current and 1,000 volts for alternating current.” If the new definition of EEP is adopted, all EEP would be immediately subject to China RoHS because no product categories would be defined. The current China RoHS identifies covered products in a Catalogue. The new definition of EEP is an even broader coverage of regulated products than that which is currently discussed in the EU Recast proposal. The proposed updates to China RoHS would not change or add to the list of hazardous substances. The six hazardous substances would remain the same, i.e., lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, PBB and PBDE. The proposed updates to China RoHS would change the title of the Catalogue from “Key Management Catalogue for the Control of Pollution by Electronic Information Product” to “Standard Product Catalogue for the Pollution Control of Electrical and Electronic Product.” This would require some changes to the draft First List of Controlled Electronic Information Products that was released on September 29, 2009. If an electrical and electronic product is listed in the Catalogue, the product is immediately subject to certification, stricter customs clearance and non-use of hazardous substances with some transitional time. The proposed changes to China RoHS would provide a clear set of requirements for the design, production, packaging and labeling of electrical and electronic products. However, if the Chinese regulatory authorities themselves are not aware of what products could be covered by the new definition of “Electrical and Electronic Product,” the proposed updates to China RoHS would have a significant disruptive impact on industries.

Background
The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) released the Key Administrative Catalog for the Pollution Control of Electronic Information Products (Batch 1), or the China RoHS Catalogue in October of 2008. The China RoHS catalogue lists electronic information products (EIP) that are subject to substance restrictions put forth in the Chinese Concentration Limits standard. The first batch of EIPs identified in the draft catalogue are mobile user terminals, telephones, and printing equipment connected to computers. The restricted substances are lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls, and polybrominated diphenylethers. Also, despite China’s previous intention to have no exemptions, the draft catalogue includes several exemptions that mirror the European Union’s exemptions under EU RoHS.

MIIT is working to finalize certification measures under the China Compulsory Certification (CCC) mark. The CCC mark is likely to be used as a model for mandatory pre-market certification of EIP identified in the China RoHS Catalogue. This certification may require in-country laboratory analysis to verify compliance with the substance restrictions. Once the China RoHS Catalogue is promulgated, or officially adopted, there will be a ten month lag time before it is implemented. If the MIIT remains on track, China RoHS could be implemented as early as the beginning of 2011. The draft catalogue is currently not available in English.

In December 2007, a meeting was held with China’s Ministry of Information Industry (MII) and industry stakeholders in Beijing. The objective of the meeting was to gather stakeholder comments and recommendations on the development of the China RoHS Catalog.  ANSI has provided a summary of the meeting, which can be downloaded by visiting leadfree.ipc.org/files/2008/ANSIReport_ChinaRoHS.pdf. For more information, view the full ANSI report.

On February 28, 2006 six government ministries of the Peoples Republic of China announced the long-anticipated “Administrative Measure on the Control of Pollution Caused by Electronic Information Products,” or China RoHS, as it is commonly called. An unofficial translation is available.   The goal of the Administrative Measures is to make companies disclose and control the use of “Hazardous” and “Toxic” Substances Control. While China is initially focusing on the same six substances as the European Union (EU) Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS), the government reserves the right to add substances in the future, although there are no current plans to do so. While the Administrative Measures requirements are similar to the EU RoHS Directive, there are many significant differences. The Administrative Measures apply to all “electronic information products” which are listed on the Ministry of Information Industry of the People’s Republic of China (MII) website.  In addition to the measures, a number of standards will be developed including labeling requirements, maximum concentration values (MCV), and testing methods. The first part of the Administrative Measures implement the disclosure portion of the regulations.  Effective March 1, 2006, all EIP must be labeled in accord with the marking standards. The second portion of the Administrative Measures will control the use of hazardous and toxic substances through substance restrictions.  Only EIP listed in a yet-to-be-published catalog will be subject to the substance restrictions.  The restricted substances and their allowable concentration values are expected to be similar to those required under the EU RoHS.  Items listed in the catalog will need to undergo pre-market certification and laboratory testing through the CCC mark system.