Describes the country's standards landscape, identifies the national standards and accreditation bodies, and lists the main national testing organization(s) and conformity assessment bodies.
Last Published: 7/30/2019


The Standardization Administration of China (SAC) is the central body for all activity related to developing and promulgating national standards in China. The China National Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) coordinates compulsory certification and testing, including the China Compulsory Certification (CCC) mark. Following a recent reorganization of China’s government agencies, SAC and CNCA are sub-agencies under the State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR), a government agency that includes the functions of the former General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), among others.  Standards in China fall into at least one of five broad categories: national standards, industry standards, local or regional standards, enterprise standards for individual companies, and association standards.    National standards ( also called “GB” standards) can be either mandatory (technical regulations) or voluntary. Either way, they take precedence over all other types of standards.  Association standards are a new concept established as part of a reform to China’s standardization system (see below for more information on this reform) and are intended to be driven by industry and other stakeholder organizations.

Exporters to China should be aware of a few regulatory requirements in the standards and testing area. First, it is important to note that laws and regulations can reference voluntary standards, thereby making the voluntary standard, in effect, mandatory. Second, for certain products, such as some electrical products, information technology products, consumer appliances, fire safety equipment and auto parts, China requires that a safety and quality certification mark (the aforementioned CCC mark) be obtained by a manufacturer before selling in or importing to China. This process can take some time. Third, numerous government agencies in China mandate industry-specific standards or testing requirements for products under their jurisdiction, in addition to the GB standards and the CCC mark described above. This often leads to onerous and duplicative testing requirements.


China is in the process of significantly reforming its standardization system with a stated goal of decreasing the number of mandatory standards and employing both a top-down standards development system like the European Union and a bottom-up system like in the United States.  China’s revised Standardization Law, which went into force in 2018, along with subsequent implementing measures, defines a new system that includes national standards development by technical committees (TC) and allows for other standards setting processes. TCs developing national or GB standards must be accredited by the SAC. These TCs are comprised of members from government agencies, private industry associations, companies (sometimes representatives of foreign-invested companies may participate, but often do so with limited voting rights), and academia.
Under recent reforms to China’ standardization process, industry alliances are also being formed to develop association standards, which are intended to be developed according to processes such as the market-driven system in the United States.  Some business community experts are concerned about the independence of the process for setting association standards and about potential mechanisms for association standards to become national standards.

Additionally, government agencies such as the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), can approve and promulgate technical regulations that may reference voluntary standards, rendering them mandatory.

In 2018 and early 2019,  Chinese regulators issued further policies to implement standardization reform, including guidelines for proposals to draft national standards, a plan to provide incentives for “pioneering” enterprise standards, and a plan to draft or revise over 500 recommendatory national standards in 2019.  In addition, China has embarked on a long-term research project that aims at developing a national standards strategy, called China Standards 2035. 
China has repeatedly stated that it intends to become a significant player in international standards organizations and has made efforts to increase its profile in the international standards development organizations. Recently, these efforts have included hosting the 83rd International Electrotechnical Commission to be held in October 2019 and encouraging standards cooperation and harmonization efforts in neighboring countries.  

Testing, Inspection & Certification

Conformity Assessment
CNCA is the primary government agency responsible for supervision of China‘s conformity assessment policies, including its primary safety and quality mark, the CCC mark. CNCA supervises the work of the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS), which accredits certification bodies and laboratory and inspection facilities.

Product Certification

The China Compulsory Certification (CCC) mark is China‘s national safety and quality mark. The mark is required for 19 categories of130 products, ranging from electrical fuses to toaster ovens to automobile parts to information technology equipment. About 20% of U.S. exports to China are on the product list. If an exporter‘s product is on the CCC mark list, it cannot enter China until CCC registration has been obtained, and the mark is physically applied to individual products as an imprint or label. Domestic products also cannot be sold in China without obtaining registration and applying the mark on individual products.

After years of U.S. government advocacy, Chinese regulators have streamlined CCC management. In2018, the SAMR and CNCA published two lists of products to be removed from the existing CCC catalogue, and lists of existing CCC products that will subsequently be considered CCC compliant through self-declaration.  In addition, starting April 1, 2019, SAMR took over the approval of CCC exemption applications from the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC).  Exporters should carefully review China’s CCC catalogues as China continues to make modifications to the list of products requiring a CCC mark.

Obtaining the CCC Mark involves an application process with authorized Chinese certification bodies. At present, five foreign testing organizations have been designated to test certain categories of products to CCC mark GB standards.

The application process can take several months or more and can cost upward of $4,500 in fees, in addition to inspectors’ travel costs. In 2018, the State Council called for an increase in the number of CCC certification agencies, in an effort to reduce CCC compliance costs and in turn improve China’s business environment.  The CCC process includes sending testing samples to a Chinese laboratory and testing in those labs to ensure the products meet safety and/or electrical standards.  Applicants’ factories are also required to undergo inspection to determine whether the product line matches the samples tested in China.  Finally, Chinese testing authorities approve the design and application of the CCC logo on the applicant‘s products. Some companies, especially those with a presence in China and with a dedicated certification/standards staff, are able to manage the application process in-house. Other exporters can tap the expertise of standards consultants based both in the United States and in China who can provide application management services and handle all aspects of the application process.

The U.S. Department of Commerce maintains a comprehensive CCC mark website to help U.S. exporters determine whether they need the CCC mark and how to apply.

Though the CCC mark is China‘s most widely required product certification mark, other product certification requirements exist. These include, for example, requirements for boilers and 81 pressure vessels, under a product certification regime administered by the Special Equipment Licensing Office of SAMR. Another product certification scheme is required for certain measurement equipment, known as Certificate of Pattern Approval, which is also administered by SAMR.

Conformity Assessment

CNCA is the primary government agency responsible for supervision of China‘s conformity assessment policies, including its primary safety and quality mark, the CCC mark. CNCA supervises the work of the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS), which accredits certification bodies and laboratory and inspection facilities.


The China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS) is the national accreditation body of China solely responsible for the accreditation of certification bodies, laboratories, and inspection bodies as authorized by the CNCA in accordance with the Regulations of the People's Republic of China on Certification and Accreditation. The list of accredited bodies can be found on the CNAS website.

Over the past few years, CNCA has gradually designated a few foreign organizations for testing certain categories of products for the CCC mark. For example, in 2014, UL was designated for testing HVAC equipment; in 2016, it was designated for testing motors and audio and video products; and in January 2017, it was designated for testing wire and cable. Additional foreign lab designations will likely make the CCC process much less cumbersome and expensive.

Publication of Technical Regulations

China is obligated to notify other World Trade Organization members of proposed technical regulations that would significantly affect trade. Notifications are made through the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) committee notification point. All members, including China, are required to allow for a reasonable amount of time for comments to proposed technical regulations (i.e., compulsory standards). Historically, China habitually only allowed comment periods of a few weeks, as opposed to the standard of 30 to 60 days practiced by other nations and recommended by the TBT committee.

Contact Information for Trade Standards
Ru Wang, Commercial Specialist (
T:  +86 10 8531-3944

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