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China to Boost Consumer Goods Quality and Standards

Plans to raise the quality and standards of consumer goods and increase the effective supply of "Made in China" products to meet the growing demand for upgraded goods are in the pipeline, according to a recent State Council executive meeting.

It was confirmed during the meeting that efforts should be focused on general consumer goods in great demand and closely related to people’s everyday life. These include food, home appliances, consumer electronics, decorative and renovation products, clothing and accessories, cosmetics and daily chemical goods, products for women, children, the elderly and disabled, cultural, educational, sports and leisure goods etc.  Market mechanisms and business entities shall play a significant role, and a new regime comprising government-formulated standards and voluntary criteria set by market players can be established in a collaborative, coordinated manner.

First of all, the formulation of a series of mandatory national standards will be accelerated, with the quality and safety of consumer goods as the essential elements.   Domestic standards should be aligned with international ones, so that consumer goods sold in domestic and overseas markets come from the same production lines, meet the same standards and are of the same quality.

Second, enterprises are encouraged to increase their awareness of quality control, branding and marketing. Entrepreneurship and craftsmanship should be promoted. In line with the implementation of intensive quality control, support will be provided to enterprises so as to enhance their ability to monitor, control and trace through online platforms the quality of products throughout their life cycles. Large- and medium-sized companies are encouraged to adopt the chief quality officer system.

Third, an innovative approach to the monitoring of product standards and quality should be adopted. Company inspections, product checks and selection of testing institutes will be carried out on a random basis. A cross-departmental, cross-sectoral public service platform providing information on consumer product quality should be introduced as soon as possible. Companies are encouraged to disclose their product and service standards by means of self-declarations, and information on the implementation of standards should be included in quality credibility records to allow for public scrutiny. An accountability system which requires testing and certifying bodies to bear joint and several liability for product quality will be set up.

Fourth, a quality and safety traceability regime for major types of consumer goods should be established to strengthen consumer rights protection and make the recall of defective products part of the regular monitoring procedure.  Mechanisms with regard to punitive damages in consumer product quality and safety cases, getting compensation first from the seller and product liability insurance should also be introduced.  Actions will be taken to crack down on local protectionism as well as improper acts in import, export and online sales activities, such as infringement of rights, counterfeiting and connivance in cases of unlawful operations.

Fifth, improving the quality and standards of consumer goods should tie in closely with upgrading of equipment manufacturing. The evolution of the consumer market towards the middle-to-high end segment will in turn encourage equipment manufacturers to proactively improve the performance, functions and technological levels of their equipment. This will also help upgrade the entire “Made in China” supply chain.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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