The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued the Work Priorities on Standardization in 2011 (the “Priorities”) on May 9, 2011 to guide efforts to develop and implement a state-of-the-art standard system in China that addresses each step in the supply chain or the production process and covers all products and new technologies. As part of this initiative, the government is calling for efforts to enhance strategic research in the development of standards in a number of key sectors, including among others, petrochemicals, iron and steel, construction materials, machinery, electronics, aviation, shipbuilding, telecommunications and energy conservation. The government will also encourage the adoption of international standards and active participation in the standards formulation process at the international level.

The Priorities emphasize incorporating self-reliant intellectual property rights into technical standards and formulating standards on indigenous innovation, which might be problematic for foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs). And, although China recently agreed to delink indigenous innovation policies from government procurement during the recent US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, FIEs will still need to proactively participate in the standards development and revision process to ensure continued access to markets beyond the government procurement sector.

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