Interesting news came out of South Korea last month. According to BusinessKorea, Chinese and Korean trade authorities have reached a series of agreements concerning mutual recognition for its respective product safety conformity assessment schemes: China Compulsory Certification (CCC) and Korean Certification (KC). Assuming the agreement is finalized, the CCC and KC marks will be accepted in both countries.
These initial agreements were reached between Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards, and the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine (AQSIQ).
Finalization is expected as early as March 2016, dependent on the completion of five steps:
- Exchange of information on standards
- Comparison between certification procedures and product lists
- Discussion of measures for preventing potential problems
- Signing of a final agreement
- Fulfillment of the final agreement
This news represents a breakthrough for manufacturers seeking to obtain market access in China and Korea, as a single test and certification program will save significant time and resources. Subscribe to Compliance Today by email (right side margin) to stay up to date on the progress of this agreement.
China is fast becoming the largest consumer market in the world, and for many products, China Compulsory Certification (CCC) is necessary for manufacturers to tap this market.
There are three main certification bodies (CBs) for electronic equipment:
- China Quality Certification Center (CQC) – issues all electronic equipment CCC certificates
- China Information Security Certification Center (ISCCC) – issues ITE CCC certificates
- China Electronics Standardization Institute (CESI) – issues A/V CCC certificates
An application is submitted to one of the certification bodies mentioned above. Once the application is accepted, the manufacturer has samples tested at an accredited lab in China. When the product passes, the test report is issued by the test lab and reviewed by the certification body. If the CB is satisfied with the test report and the manufacturer passes an initial factory inspection, the report will be approved and the CCC certificate will be released.
The CCC certificate is generally valid for five years and requires follow-up inspections that verify quality control and product consistency.
CCC certification is to Chinese national standards called Guobiao or GB standards. Usually the GB standard is harmonized to an IEC standard. For example for ITE, GB4943 is harmonized to IEC60950 for product safety; GB17625 (updated to GB17625.1-2012 on July 1, 2013) is harmonized to IEC61000-3-2 and GB9254 is harmonized to IEC/CISPR 22 for electromagnetic compatibility. There are some minor national deviations like ratings, altitude or tropical zone requirements. (Read more about recent changes to GB8898 Audio, Video and Similar Electronic Apparatus – Safety Requirements and GB4943.1 Safety of Information Technology Equipment.)
Generally, if you can pass the IEC standard, you should be OK to pass the CCC test. Manufacturers can save time and reduce cost by transferring a CB report to a CCC report.
MET Labs has experience helping manufacturers obtain CCC certification. MET’s China operations are based in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province. Contact MET China or MET U.S. for more information about CCC certification.
Audio/video equipment and information technology equipment intended for sale in China must meet new China Compulsory Certification (CCC) product safety requirements starting in November and December, respectively.
In February, the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China (CNCA) Technical Committee for High Tech Industry finalized the certificate update instructions for both GB8898 (Audio, Video and Similar Electronic Apparatus – Safety Requirements) and GB4943 (Safety of Information Technology Equipment). The updated standards are GB8898-2011 and GB4943.1-2011. The official change announcement was made April 10.
GB8898-2011 for A/V Equipment
After November 1, 2012, the China Quality Certification Centre (CQC) will only accept A/V equipment applications for the CCC Mark to the new GB8898-2011 standard. From November 1, 2012 onwards, non-compliant products will not be permitted to be imported into or sold in the China market.
For A/V products marketed under existing certificates, manufacturers are required to update their certificates according to the new standard by November 1, 2013, with an additional grace period extending to February 1, 2014. All suspended certificates will be withdrawn by the CQC after February 1, 2014.
GB4943.1-2011 for IT Equipment
After December 1, 2012, the CQC will only accept IT equipment applications for the CCC Mark to the new GB4943.1-2011 standard. From December 1, 2012 onwards, non-compliant products will not be permitted to be imported into or sold in the China market.
For IT products marketed under existing certificates, manufacturers are required to update their certificates according to the new standard by December 1, 2013, with an additional grace period extending to March 1, 2014. All suspended certificates will be withdrawn by the CQC after March 1, 2014.
For more information about these changes, contact MET China.
To learn about accessing many countries with a single certification, register for our CB Scheme Webinar.
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) recently wrote a letter to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to comment on the 2011 National Trade Estimate (NTE) on Foreign Trade Barriers report. The letter focused mostly on testing and certification barriers in three countries: China, Mexico, and Brazil. Following are highlights of the letter.
The product testing and certification process in China is significantly more burdensome than in other markets, according to TIA. Under China’s Network Access License (NAL), there are unnecessary testing requirements. TIA recommends eliminating the NAL requirement, or reducing the number of tests required by the NAL. Particularly, eliminate mandatory testing for specific enhancement functions such as WAPI, and eliminate functionality testing.
Also, TIA says that China’s certification requirements for telecommunications equipment conflicts with its WTO obligation to limit imported products to no more than one conformity assessment scheme and requiring the same mark for all products (Article 13.4(a)). China has three different licensing regimes:
- Radio Type Approval (RTA)
- Network Access License (NAL)
- China Compulsory Certification (CCC)
It can cost $35,000 to test for all three licenses.
For EMC testing, China has opted out of the IECEE Conformity Body (CB) scheme for report acceptance, so that this testing must be done in-country.
China’s policy of requiring a factory inspection before issuance of the CCC certificate has meant long delays for some U.S. manufacturers.
Regarding standards, TIA believes that China should accept all globally-relevant standards that are developed in accordance with the TBT Code of Good Practice, not just those developed in international forums like the ISO, IEC, and ITU.
Mexico is working on a conformity assessment procedure for telecommunications products where testing would be mandatory and performed only by recognized labs. According to TIA, this reinforces the need for Mexico to recognize U.S. and Canadian accreditation and certification bodies to avoid duplicate testing. TIA urges Mexico to implement Chapter 9 of its NAFTA obligation to recognize conformity assessment bodies in the United States and Canada.
TIA is concerned that Brazilian regulator Anatel is not accepting test data generated outside of Brazil, except in rare cases. This requirement that testing be done in-country adds to certification time and increases costs. TIA recommends that the United States and Brazil negotiate a Mutual Recognition Agreement under the CITEL framework.