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Frequently Asked Questions on CCC Mark Issues

*4/2/03 U.S.-China Roundtable on CCC Mark Implementation*

On April 2, 2003 U.S. Embassy officers met with officials from China’s Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) to discuss implementation of the China Compulsory Certification (CCC) mark, a new safety and quality mark system. U.S. industry representatives also attended the meeting.

The meeting addressed several key issues on which U.S. companies and government officials have sought clarification, in the weeks and months before full CCC mark implementation (August 1, 2003).

  • Spare parts and component parts - when do spare/component parts need the CCC mark.
  • Product classification - how to determine whether a product needs the CCC mark.
  • Product exemptions - how to determine when a product in the CCC catalogue can be exempt.
  • The exemption process: how to apply for exemptions.

FAQs on Spare Parts, Components, and the Exemption Process

FAQs on CNCA Standards and Regulations

FAQs on Sample Testing and Factory Inspection

FAQs on Product Classification and Customs/Border Issues

FAQs on CCC Mark Labeling Issues

FAQs on Miscellaneous Issues

FAQs on Spare Parts, Components, and the Exemption Process

1. Spare parts exemption - how to apply?

2. Spare parts exemption - where to apply, time frame, fees?

3. Spare parts exemption - how long is it good for?

4. Spare parts exemption - who do I contact?

5. Spare parts exemption - what is a “spare part?”?

6. Spare parts exemption - products used within factories.

7. Do spare parts on the CCC list, shipped as replacement parts, need the CCC Mark?

8. Spare parts made in China for export - can they be used within China?

9. What paperwork is required for spare parts shipped as replacement parts?

10. When do individual components of a finished assembled unit need the CCC Mark?

FAQs on CNCA Standards and Regulations

1. English-language source for CCC Mark requirements.

2. CCC Mark standards for harmonic emissions.

3. China’s use of IEC electrical standards.

FAQs on Sample Testing and Factory Inspection***

1. Non-Chinese laboratory testing - when and how?

2. Is actual lab testing required, or can an applicant show existing test results?

3. Can sample testing be waived and foreign test results accepted?

4. Different models of same product - necessary to go through testing/certification twice?

5. Scheduling a factory inspection.

FAQs on Product Classification and Customs/Border Issues

1. China Customs’ and CNCA’s systems for linking CCC product coverage to HS codes.

2. Product Classification - how does Chinese Customs determine what products need the CCC Mark?

3. How do CCC Mark regulations affect a company’s ability to transfer equipment?

FAQs on CCC Mark Labeling Issues

1. Import of product before the CCC Mark has been physically applied to the product.

2. Can a company apply for CCC Mark labels simultaneous with the overall CCC certification process?

3. CCC Mark factory identification codes.

FAQs on Miscellaneous Issues

1. Can a company announce a product while it is still in the application process?

2. Products needing the prior CCIB Mark but not the new CCC Mark.

FAQs on Spare Parts, Components, and the Exemption Process

1. We understand there is an exclusionary notice that exempts spare parts from the CCC Mark requirement. However, there is some confusion on this point:

Many foreign firms without local representation have expressed difficulty in determining how to apply for exclusion. Are there plans to publish the guidelines in English and make them available via an internet site or other medium?

  • CNCA does have a comprehensive website (http://www.cnca.gov.cn/) that includes the CCC Mark regulations and guidelines for exclusion. Some of the regulations have been translated into English. However, not all documents, including Document No. 8 (which covers exclusions) have been translated. Currently, there is no timetable for translation of the exclusion guidelines.

[editor’s note: Document No. 8 (2002) was replaced by CNCA Announcement No.3 (2005)]

  • A foreign company has several options in determining how to apply for exclusion. First, if a foreign company has a partner (agent, representative, distributor, etc.) in Beijing (or other parts of China- see below for further information about applying outside of Beijing), it is the Chinese importer that usually applies for the exclusion. Second, for products manufactured domestically (in China), the manufacturer generally applies for the exclusion. Third, for firms that manufacture products domestically, but outside of Beijing, or for foreign firms that manufacture outside of China that do not have Chinese representation, they can entrust a local entity to apply for an exclusion for them. The CNCA website has a list of service agents around Beijing that can provide this service (see below for a discussion on cost). Currently, there are about 12 service agents. CNCA will soon increase the number to more than 100. When utilizing a service agent, you must provide them with original documents and original signatures for them to deliver to Beijing.

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2. We understand that currently, a company can apply for a CCC Mark exclusion only in Beijing. Are there plans to expand to other cities in China? What is the timeframe for getting spare parts into China? Is there a fee associated with applications for exclusion? ·

  • Currently, applications for exclusions can be filed only in Beijing. CNCA is devising a system that would allow local CIQ offices (mostly likely CIQ port offices) to process and approve exclusion applications for imported products that enter China other than through Beijing.
  • Currently, applications for exclusions can be processed within 3 to 5 days. In special circumstances, expedited processing can be requested and the application can be approved within 1 to 2 days.
  • No fee is charged for exclusion applications submitted in Beijing. If the CIQ port offices are allowed to process applications, they will likely charge fees sufficient to cover their costs. For companies that enlist the assistance of a service agent, any fees will be determined by the service agent.

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3. We also understand that an exclusion license is only valid for 1 month. Is it possible to extend the validity period? Are there other ways to make the exclusion process simpler? For example, is there a form that can be filled out and sent to CNCA for exclusion consideration, especially for entities outside of Beijing?

  • Currently, CNCA believes that the 1-month validity period is appropriate. In exceptional cases, a company can apply to CNCA for an extension. The application form is available from CNCA.
  • For products stored in bonded zones, CNCA is willing to consider guidelines extending the validity period in such cases to two months.
  • Regarding the exclusion form, CNCA indicated that they would consider discussing putting the form on their website.

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4. Can you provide us with specific contact information (name, address, fax number) of the CNCA department that processes applications for exemptions? U.S. exporters without local representation do not have information on how to apply for the exemption. Can the process be done via facsimile?

  • Companies should contact Ms. Kong (Tel: (8610) 8226-2674; 8226-0830; Fax: (8610) 8226-0772)

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5. What is the definition of spare or replacement parts; i.e. are the following considered examples of spare parts:

Replacement of a broken breaker with a new one?

  • Yes, this would qualify as a spare part.

Replacement of a cable in a manufacturing tool?

  • Yes, this would qualify as a spare part.

It is also possible that a whole machine could break down and would need to be replaced. In such instances, would the machine be considered a replacement?

  • No, this would not qualify as a spare part, and would therefore not be entitled to an exemption.

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6. CNCA Document No. 8, describing the exemption process, does not specifically indicate whether products and components used within factories, in manufacturing processes, qualify for exemptions. To what extent do industrial products and component parts, when used only in a factory/manufacturing capacity, qualify for exemption? (But not for re-export, for which exemptions clearly apply.)

  • According to CNCA, in the above situation, the components would not qualify for an exemption.

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7. Are spare parts, which might be individually regulated, required to have a CCC Mark when imported as replacement parts for equipment already in China? Explanation: A company may have a lot of equipment in China that is not currently regulated. If a spare part happens to be regulated, must it be CCC marked before it can be imported? Which spare parts and component parts require the CCC Mark and which do not?

  • According to CNCA, spare parts that do not require a CCC Mark are exceptional cases. Article 2, 4 and 5 of *Document No. 8 * (not translated into English) contains the guidelines for CCC Mark exemptions. CNCA explains that a spare part is one whose function is part of the operation of a complete machine. Structurally, it must be combined with other parts to make a whole. A spare or replacement part that is to be assembled into a whole machine does not require a CCC Mark. However, if the spare or replacement part is sold other than as a spare or replacement part for a specific machine, it would require a CCC Mark. For example, new parts used to replace a broken breaker, a faulty cable in a manufacturing tool or a non-functioning server power cord would be considered replacement/spare parts, while an entirely new machine used to replace a broken one would NOT be considered a replacement part.
  • For further clarification, to qualify as a spare/replacement part and the CCC Mark exemption, the part MUST be imported for a specific end-use. If the product is destined for re-export, it does not need a CCC Mark. /[Editor’s Note: To clarify, products in the CCC Mark catalogue destined for re-export, though not requiring the CCC Mark, must apply for the CCC Mark exemption]/. If the spare or replacement part is destined for sale or use other than in a specific replacement function in China (and is listed in the First Catalog), it MUST have a CCC Mark.

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8. Can a company purchase spare parts in China made for the external market and use them within China?

  • Any product covered by the CCC Mark regulations that is sold or used in China will be subject to CCC Mark requirements.

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9. If regulated spare parts do not need a CCC Mark, what paperwork is required for these parts that are imported as replacement parts?

  • The paperwork is the same as that required for the exclusion process.

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10. In cases where individual components of an assembled product are on the First Catalogue, but the overall assembled product is not on the list, must those individual components obtain the CCC Mark when the product ships as an assembled unit? What about when those individual components are shipped separately, or as spare parts?

For example, when shipping an assembled automobile, would component parts like motors for power windows need the CCC Mark? If those motors for power windows are shipped later as spare parts, would they need the CCC Mark? Would they qualify for exemption?

In addition, machine tools that are not on the First Catalogue may use electrical components and cables that are on the list. When shipped as an assembled unit, would the components need the CCC Mark? If those electrical components and cables are shipped later as spare parts, would they need the CCC Mark? Would they qualify for the exemption?

  • If a complete piece of equipment (or “kit”) is not identified in the First Catalog as requiring a CCC Mark, but contains component parts that do require a CCC Mark, as long as the piece of equipment is imported as a whole, the component parts would not require CCC Marks. That is, if a machine is imported in total but is knocked-down (i.e., unassembled) for shipping, the component parts normally requiring a CCC Mark would NOT need a CCC Mark. In this scenario, the whole of the parts must be shipped together (under one packing list) in order to be exempt.
  • In principle, component parts listed in the First Catalog that are shipped separately but under one sales contract would need a CCC Mark. In such cases, a direct inquiry to CNCA can be made.

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FAQs on CNCA Standards and Regulations

1. Is there now or will there soon be an official English language source for CCC Mark requirements and all standards-related matters? Although many documents are available in English, certain critical documents such as CNCA Document Nos. 60 and 8 are not yet translated. Are there plans to translate these documents? Can you describe the methodology used to determine which documents will be translated and when they will be translated?

  • Less than 1% of China’s technical standards have been translated into English. While most standards have not been translated into English, they do contain a reference to the specific international standard upon which they are based at the end of the Chinese text. The international standard will be available in English. Also, the websites of IECEE or SAC contain information outlining the differences between the Chinese standards and the international standards upon which they are based.
  • Regarding how CNCA decides which rules and regulations it will translate, any of the eight departments within CNCA can request an English translation of a particular standard or regulation, and the CNCA leadership will decide whether to grant the request. CNCA will also entertain translation requests from other Chinese ministries and foreign entities. All English translations are for convenience only, and only the Chinese version is deemed to be legally effective and will govern in the case of any discrepancy.
  • It is likely that CNCA will prepare an official translation of Document No. 8. However, as Document No. 60 is based upon an international standard, CNCA has no current plans to prepare a translation.

[Editor’s Note: CNCA has published 47 "Implementation Rules for Compulsory Certification." The booklets are available on the CNCA’s Web, in English. The booklets outline detailed technical application requirements for each of the 132 product categories. Information on all mandatory standards and mandatory conformity assessment rules are available at China's WTO/TBT National Enquiry Point:

WTO/TBT National Enquiry Point Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine the People's Republic of China Telephone: 0086-10-856-22885

Facsimile: 0086-10-856-22884
E-Mail: //TBT@AQSIQ.GOV.CN

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2. Regarding requirements for a harmonic emissions standard, it appears that China is using the 1995 IEC version while Europe is using an updated IEC version. We understand that China has agreed to delay implementing the standard. However, we have heard from U.S. companies that their products are being held to the old IEC standard and have been rejected. Can you comment on the current status of this standard?

  • According to industry participants, this issue has been resolved.

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3. Chinese standards (GB, GB/T, etc.) are often very similar but not identical to the corresponding IEC standards. How will China use the IEC standards for their compliance regulations?

  • Based on its commitments to WTO, China has agreed to promote international IEC standards and increase the adoption of international standards by 10% (i.e., from 48% to 58%) within five years. For new policies such as the CCC Mark system, China intends to use international standards. For example, more than 90% of the Chinese standards for electronic products are based upon, or identical to, the relevant international standard.

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FAQs on Sample Testing and Factory Inspection

1. When and how will non-Chinese lab testing and approval be incorporated?

  • CNCA supports the principle of one standard, one test and one certification, and has entered into several MOUs on reciprocal testing including MOUs with Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Norway. While CNCA hopes to pursue formal arrangements in the future, it remains unclear when testing at non-Chinese labs will be officially approved and incorporated. CNCA is willing to provide more specific information on this issue, as well as a complete list of signed MOUs, however, CNCA believes that the establishment of mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) is an issue separate from WTO compliance.
  • CNCA has been very active in discussions on MRAs, particularly at APEC. Many MRAs were established under the old CCIB and CCEE systems, and thus CNCA is negotiating with foreign organizations to establish cooperation under the new CCC Mark system.

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2. Would it be possible to just show testing results rather than submit samples for testing, which can often be troublesome?

  • No. Moreover, there is no timetable for allowing this change.

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3. Submitting samples to testing and certification bodies designated by CNCA delays the time-to-market for many new products. Is there any way to waive sample testing by accepting foreign, specifically US, testing results?

  • No, not according to current rules; however, CNCA will work to simplify and speed up this process in the future, which is necessary to ensure that the sample and testing results match. The current maximum time is three months, although in practice less time is often required.

[Editor’s Note: China, as a member of the international “CB Scheme,” is obligated to accept test reports for certain electrical standards from more than 40 countries participating in the CB Scheme, including the United States. Acceptance of these test reports does not eliminate the type testing requirement, but can speed the CCC mark application process in some cases.]

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4. For different models of the same product, is it necessary to go through this testing and certification process twice?

  • No, you simply need to apply for an extension of the application.

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5. Currently, when considering a CCC Mark application, Designated Certification Bodies wait until after all type testing and product certification is complete, before beginning the process of setting factory inspection dates. Because visa delays sometimes occur, this is slowing the factory inspection process and delaying applications. Is it possible to set tentative factory inspection dates at an earlier point in the application process?

  • Yes, it is possible to set inspection dates prior to receiving CCC Mark approval.

[Editor’s Note: Chinese inspectors will need U.S. visas to visit U.S.-based facilities. The U.S. State Department subjects visa applications to a high degree of scrutiny, and visa applicants are advised to expect delays. These visa delays may slow CCC Mark applications.

At the time China announced a delay in CCC Mark enforcement to August 1, 2003, the U.S. Commercial Service in Beijing learned that CNCA is requesting about 20 foreign certification bodies it has worked with in the past to conduct factory inspection on behalf of CNCA.]

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FAQs on Product Classification & Customs/Border Issues

1. Regarding the HS code system, Customs changes the codes every year, which results in a discontinuity between the HS codes used by Customs and those used by CNCA. Does CNCA have a plan to synchronize their system with Customs or to update their HS codes to coincide with those used by Customs?

  • Yes, CNCA does update its codes to correspond to changes in the HS code system. However, synchronization of the two systems will always take time, as Customs must first change its codes before CNCA can synchronize its codes.

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2. What specific items need the CCC Mark? Specifically, in cases where only a portion of the product falls under a specific a HS code requiring the CCC Mark, how does Chinese Customs assess what products need the CCC Mark and what items don’t? How can a company confirm (officially) whether a product needs a CCC Mark or not (in writing)? For example, several companies have been advised over the phone that a specific product does not need a CCC Mark, but when the product is being cleared through Customs, officers there insist the product requires a CCC Mark. If a product has been pre-determined by CNCA not to need a CCC Mark, it would be useful for a company to be able to present to Customs a written declaration from CNCA stating the product does not need the CCC Mark.

  • CNCA is aware of these problems and is working toward a solution. When these problems arise in the future, it is possible to get a written declaration. Specifically, the local CIQ office is responsible for identifying products based upon Document No. 60, while the local customs office is responsible only for import control. In the future, companies with problems at Customs can ask the local CIQ office to resolve the issue. The CIQ office can assess whether the specific product requires a CCC Mark and will deliver its determination in writing. If problems arise with the local CIQ, the company can ask CNCA in Beijing for clarification, which will also be delivered in writing.

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3. Will CCC Mark regulations affect a company’s ability to transfer equipment in and out of China/**/? If a company transfers equipment requiring a CCC Mark that was purchased before it was required to have the CCC Mark, must the company then get a CCC Mark? Example: A welding machine was bought in 2001, and a company wants to transfer it from Penang to Pudong in June 2003. Will they need to get it CCC marked given that it is in the current catalog of products that need to be regulated by May 1, 2003?

  • No, the CCC Mark system only applies to new products and does not regulate used or old equipment. As a result, used equipment does not need to be CCC marked.

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FAQs on CCC Mark Labeling Issues

1. There is often a time delay between receiving the certification and physically applying the CCC mark to the product. Is it possible to import the product prior to the mark being applied so as to avoid delays and labor constraints?

  • No. The certification process, including the application of the actual CCC Mark, must be completed before the product can be imported.

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2. A company must have a product CCC certificate in order to apply for a CCC compliance label. Can the approval for the labeling be obtained outside of Beijing and can it be done simultaneously with the CCC process instead of in series?

  • Yes, approval can be obtained simultaneously. Once the overseeing body has accepted the application, the company can apply for printing approval. These applications, however, can be processed only in Beijing.

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3. Currently, any factory manufacturing products for sale in China must have a factory identification code given to them by one of the designated certification bodies. China has two such bodies, i.e., CQC and CEMC. Each body has their own code, which results in each factory having to manage two separate identification code for each product line it produces depending on which certification body tests it. In the past there was only code that was issued by CCIB, is it possible to return to the old system where there was only one code?

  • No. The purpose of the code is to allow the relevant authorities to trace products back to the DCB that processed them.

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FAQs on Miscellaneous Issues

1. Can a company announce a product while it is still in the application process so as to speed up the time-to-market for the new product?

  • No, not at the present time and it is unlikely that this will change in the future.

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2. Regarding post-market surveillance (after May 1st), what will be the registration process for products that need the CCIB Mark (for example, scanners and servers) which have no CCC Mark or CCIB Mark? Is there a time frame as to when such rules/regulations will be announced and made publicly available? Moreover, are there plans to implement a type of official channel of communication for companies to get clarification from central authorities if problems arise at the local level?

  • No registration will be required after May 1st . Post-market surveillance pre-May 1st will be undertaken according to product import and ex-factory dates, as appropriate.

[Editor’s Note: With CNCA’s announcement of a delay until August 1 for full CCC Mark enforcement, please substitute “August 1" for “May 1" in the preceding answer.]

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To the best of our knowledge, the information contained in this report is accurate as of the date published. However, The Department of Commerce does not take responsibility for actions readers may take based on the information contained herein. Readers should always conduct their own due diligence before entering into business ventures or other commercial arrangements. The Department of Commerce can assist companies in these endeavors.