Sino-German Quality Infrastructure Project

Project description

Title: Sino-German Quality Infrastructure Project
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
Country: People's Republic of China
Lead executing agency: General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ)
Overall term: 2014 to 2016

Context

The People's Republic of China is Germany's most important trading partner outside Europe. China has a strong interest in expanding trade relations further. The volume of trade is expected to grow to EUR 210 billion by 2015. In order to achieve this goal, market access conditions should be harmonised and trade barriers removed. In addition, the Chinese economy is to be geared more strongly to the production of higher-quality and more sustainable products and services than before.

These developments make it necessary to address quality infrastructure issues jointly and across national borders. At the same time, numerous opportunities are available for innovative approaches to developing themes that are of great interest to policy makers and businesses in both countries.

As early as 2010, the German Federal Government responded by commissioning GIZ to address quality infrastructure issues under a consumer protection and product safety programme. Under the Sino-German Quality Infrastructure Project, this work will be continued and expanded in the areas of market surveillance, conformity assessment, technical harmonisation and production conditions.

Objectives

China's quality infrastructure has converged with international standards so that technical trade barriers have been systematically dismantled and the safety of traded products has been improved.

Approach

At national level, the project supports dialog platforms that intensify the bilateral partnership in all areas of quality infrastructure. Of particular importance in this regard is the Sino-German Working Group on Product Safety which aims at sustainably improving the safety of products while at the same time reducing technical barriers to trade between both markets. Founded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the Chinese General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), the Working Group has been joined by the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People's Republic of China (CNCA) to work on topics related to conformity assessment and accreditation.

GIZ is supporting and coordinating the political exchange between the two countries and disseminating decisions and results. The participation of relevant national and local institutions is of great importance in this work. The intensive exchange involves providing advice on legislation and regulation as well as capacity development for specialists and managers. The project implements the policy decisions of the Working Group professionally and disseminates them at provincial and local level.

It is of paramount importance that the deliberations of the Working Group on Product Safety and implementation of the agreed activities involve the manufacturing sector as well as private certification agencies and testing institutes of both countries. In order to sustainably promote this involvement of the manufacturing sector, the project has access to a cooperation fund from which it finances joint projects with enterprises from both countries.

Results achieved so far

The work of the project has consolidated essential communication channels between German and Chinese partners and between policymakers and the manufacturing sector. In particular, as a result of the support provided under the project, the Sino-German Working Group on Product Safety has grown to become a platform between the two countries for continuous information sharing and deliberations during the year. Political understanding for the characteristics of the partner country’s system has been sustainably enhanced, creating an important foundation for professional cooperation in the years ahead.

The manufacturing sector has been successfully integrated into the deliberations of the Working Group, and representatives from associations and enterprises regularly participate in meetings and formulate their specific needs. This has enabled the dialogue to deliberately address current and commercially relevant issues, such as binding certifications for imports and compulsory export inspections in China.

Cooperation projects in specific sectoral fields have been agreed, enriching the policy dialogue. The catalogue of measures agreed in this context for implementation in the years ahead includes studies of the effects of current Chinese market regulation reforms, training courses on amendments to legislation in Europe and their practical implementation at national and state level, as well as fact-finding visits to learn about the structure of German certification systems. Specialists from the responsible authorities and experts from the private sector have agreed to work on implementing these activities.