Second Draft Standardization Law includes Some Clarity, Concerns Remain

On September 5, the National People’s Congress (NPC) released an updated draft revision of the Standardization Law after its second reading. The deadline to submit comments to NPC is September 24, 2017.

The second reading draft contains the following improvements: 

  • Social organization standards: Previously, only social organizations legally registered at the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) could draft social organization standards. In the second reading draft, standard drafting organizations (SDOs) for social organization standards are now extended to include “societies, associations, chambers of commerce, federations and industry technology alliances”. Social organizations standards can be implemented by members of these organizations by agreement or voluntarily adopted by other non-members/organizations. 
  • Standards categories: Article 2 of the previous draft was unclear in the categorization of different standards. The second reading draft has a redefinition: “standards include national standards, industry standards, local standards, social organization standards and enterprise standards. National standards are divided into mandatory standards and recommended standards. Industry standards and local standards are recommended standards” ​

However, some concerns persist, especially around enterprise standards. The concept of enterprise standards remains, however a widespread concern pertaining to other enterprises adopting one company's enterprise standards is addressed through a change in the wording of that clause: “an enterprise may, if needs arise, develop an enterprise standard on its own, or work with other enterprises to collaboratively develop enterprise standards.” The state will also introduce a self-declaration system for the disclosure and supervision of social organization and enterprise standards. It is not clear yet what this system entails and how this mechanism will work.