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Issue 07, 2000 (15 July)
 Industrial Policy

Substitute for Polyfoam Food Utensils

To ensure a smooth phasing out of disposable polyfoam food utensils and replacing polyfoam with substitute materials before the end of 2000, China has launched a programme on establishing a nationwide network of pilot production enterprises producing substitute disposable food utensils. Given below are main points of the programme.
  1. Pilot production of disposable food utensils made from degradable materials substituting polyfoam is to be carried out in designated enterprises in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Shenyang, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Xi'an. Efforts will be made to monitor the production of the substitute utensils; market the products throughout the country; protect the interests of the production enterprises, user enterprises and consumers; maintain market equilibrium; and prevent hostile competition.

  2. Each of the designated enterprises must be capable of producing around 150 million substitute utensils annually. They are also responsible for supplying substitute utensils for their localities, conducting R&D of new technologies and new products, and assisting local backward enterprises in implementing technological reform.

  3. According to incomplete statistics, there are about 100 enterprises in China producing substitutes for disposable polyfoam utensils. However, on-the-spot inspections show that only 20 of them are capable of undertaking independent R&D work and large-scale production. To speed up the standardisation of production management, advanced production equipment meeting national standards will be recommended to enterprises.

  4. Survey results show that among the bio-degradable substitute materials available, such as paper pulp, vegetable fibre and modified starch, paper pulp is the most popular and possesses great development potential. This is especially the case for disposable food containers. At present, food containers made from paper pulp are the main substitutes that meet national standards. Furthermore, production equipment, technologies and chemical auxiliary used for manufacturing such food containers have improved greatly, thus lowering production costs. There has also been a breakthrough in tackling major technological problems such as ensuring food quality and freshness, and colour printing on containers.

  5. The government will gradually implement a licence system for the manufacture of substitute disposable food utensils, and will strictly supervise the production processes and inspect products according to national health and quarantine standards. The areas covered range from raw materials, equipment, production, to storage and transportation. The aim is to ensure that manufacturers produce substitutes with better quality and higher health standard.

Domestic and Foreign Construction Companies to be Classified into Three Categories

The Ministry of Construction has proposed plans to reform the regulatory system of the construction industry. At present, the Ministry is amending and fine-tuning the plans to be implemented in the second half of this year. By then, all domestic and foreign construction enterprises will be classified into three categories. The details are as follows:

  1. Construction enterprises will be divided into three types: (a) general contractors which can contract jobs from property owners directly; (b) specialist contractors which in principle cannot directly deal with property owners and have to sub-contract work from general contractors; and (c) labour subcontractors whose service is confined to the provision of labour to the first two types of contractors. Each type of contractor is to operate within its permitted scope of activities and cannot go beyond its permitted area.

  2. The total number of general contractors approved will be much lower than the total number of existing contractors, which are classified into four grades.

  3. There will be provisions governing the permitted area of work for each type of contractor. General contractors may operate throughout the country but the other two types can only engage work locally.

  4. In assessing contractors' capabilities, their capital and operation management will be considered, but the key consideration is their track record.

  5. The total number of enterprises approved will be controlled, and efforts will be made to upgrade existing grade two enterprises to grade one in two years.

New Measures on Certification of Electromagnetic Compatibility

In order to better implement national standards on electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), reduce the harm caused by emission of electromagnetic disturbance, ensure safety of equipment and protect the environment, the State Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision (SBQTS) issued in mid-June the Measures for Administration of Certification of Electromagnetic Compatibility, which took effect from the date of issuance.

Under the Measures, products are divided into two categories: those requiring safety certification and those subject to voluntary certification. Products under the first category are those to which mandatory national standards or mandatory industry standards on EMC apply. These products require safety certification and are subject to mandatory supervision when sold in the market. The product list and period of mandatory supervision will be announced by the SBQTS. Products under the second category are those to which recommended national standards or recommended industry standards on EMC apply. Enterprises selling these products may obtain certification from the relevant authority on a voluntary basis.

Enterprises selling or using products requiring EMC safety certification in China should apply for such certification. It is set out in the Measures that EMC certification covers inspection of the quality assurance system of the processing factory and post-certification monitoring, which are to be carried out at least once a year. Products that are found to be up to standard will be issued a certificate with a validity of four years by the authority. Certification marking should be displayed on the product or its packaging.

China Adjusts Tariffs on Metals

On the basis of the US-China bilateral WTO agreement, the Customs Duties Office of the State Council has adjusted the import tariffs on certain nonferrous metals. As for export, the provisional customs duties on copper and nickel have been reduced to zero from the original rate of 20-40%.

Import tariffs on selected products are adjusted as follows:

Standard for Emission of Exhaust Air by Food Industry

The Standard for Emission of Exhaust Air by Food Industry issued by the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) came into force on 1 July. From now on, businesses in the food industry can no longer emit exhaust air into the atmosphere prior to treatment.

Because of the way Chinese food is prepared, suppliers of Chinese food cause serious air pollution. The SEPA's new measures set out the maximum concentration of grease and smoke that can be emitted and the minimum efficiency level of exhaust air treatment facilities. This is the first time that the government has imposed restrictions on emission of exhaust air by the food industry.

The Standard also requires all food suppliers (including food processing enterprises and staff canteens) to install exhaust air treatment facilities. Emission of untreated exhaust air will be considered as emitting air not up to standard. The Standard also sets out requirements for the height, position and direction of exhaust air vents, specifically prohibiting air vent exits facing any building directly.

Under the new Standard, it is inadequate for food enterprises to install only ordinary exhaust fans. Food suppliers must install special air treatment facilities. The environment protection departments are in the process of identifying these products for recommendation to the industry.

Home Theatre Products Come Under Control

The Ministry of Information Industry has earlier announced new standards governing home theatre products. The standards cover SJ/T11217-2000 on general standards for surround sound amplifiers for home theatres, and SJ/T11218-2000 on general standards for speakers for home theatres. The new standards set out specific provisions on the technical requirements, testing methods, quality assessment procedures, labelling, packaging, transportation and storage of surround sound amplifiers and speakers for home theatres. These national standards for home theatre products are important in regulating the market, promoting fair competition among enterprises and protecting consumers' interests.

The new standards are based on the technical features of home theatre products. Provisions for technical requirements are formulated on the basis of both national and industry standards. Performance indicators for such functions as "frequency range" and "maximum noise input voltage" are based on the need for quality assessment of home theatre products.

"Home theatre system" is defined in the general standards for surround sound amplifiers for home theatres as a home audio-visual system comprising surround sound amplifiers (or surround sound decoders and multi-channel audio frequency power amplifier set), multiple (four or more) speaker systems, and a large screen television (or projector TV) with high quality A/V programme source that together create a surround sound theatre effect.