Case studies, Research and Supporting Materials specific to China.

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The use of child safety seats in cars has become a compulsory regulation in many countries. China published a compulsory national standard Child Restraint System in Motor Vehicles in 2012, to which manufacturers are required to follow in the design and production of child safety seats.

IAs of September 1, 2015, child restraint systems for motor vehicles without CCC certification and CCC mark shall not be delivered, distributed, imported or applied in other operating activities.

By the end of 2017, a total of 1,190 certificates for child restraint systems in motor vehicles had been issued for 260 enterprises, including 130 certificates for 41 overseas enterprises. Shopping malls, retailers of children’s products and automobile manufacturers impose stricter requirements for child car seats and no longer accept products without CCC certification, fully reflecting the emphasis on the assurance of consumers’ safety.

In order to ensure the quality safety of plugs and sockets, they are subject to compulsory product certification. There are thousands of plugs and sockets manufacturers in China including small enterprises of three-five employers and large enterprises of hundreds of employers, due to low entry barriers into the industry. To ensure product safety, type testing of samples and factory inspection by manufacturers are combined for the CCC certification of plugs and sockets.

Based on relevant standards for testing, over 20 safety criteria were involved in type testing, including product size, electric-shock safeguard, structure, protection provided by the shell, insulation resistance, electrical properties such as electric strength, temperature, mechanical strength, as well as heat-proof and flame retardant properties of insulating materials. Factory inspection involves the conformity of key factors such as personnel, apparatus, environment and raw materials to ensure that enterprises are capable of mass producing quality products. Products are granted CCC certification only after passing type test and factory inspection.

More than 8,000 certificates have been issued to over 1,800 enterprises by the end of 2017, including 8,231 certificates for 1,791 domestic enterprises (including those in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) and 40 for 15 overseas enterprises.

Television is a long standing subject to CCC certification. Since 2002, there are now more than 4000 valid CCC certificates for TV products, accross more than 400 TV manufacturers.

CCC certification for TV products is conducted according to the Chinese national standard GB 8898-2011, Audio, video and similar electronic apparatus—Safety requirements which is based on IEC 60065:2005. The revised clauses in the standard take into account of China’ actual conditions such as vast territory, geographical complexity and climatic conditions. This system of certification supports the technical upgrade of the TV industry in China.

Since 2002, all automobile products are listed in the China Compulsory Certification (CCC) catalogue of China. The implementation of CCC certification plays an important role in improving overall quality of China’s automobile industry.

CCC certification has undergone revision and improvement of certification rules since this implementation. It constantly keeps in line with new standards of emission, oil consumption, safety and environmental protection, and sets higher requirements for standards of environmental protection, safety and energy conservation, which prompts China’s automobile manufacturing enterprises to research, develop and adopt new technologies and techniques, further improving the overall Level of China’s automobiles industry and strengthening compatibility with the world.

CCC certification assists manufacturers to standardise production sites and collectivized management; through the continuous revision and improvement of rules, particularly through the implementation of the Implementation Rules for Compulsory Certification of Motor Vehicles (Automobile Product) (2008 Edition),

The CCC certification results of China’s automobile products are adopted by many government departments, for example, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and Ministry of Finance (MOF) in the energy-saving and people-benefiting automobiles project. In addition, according to the requirements of Notification about Standardizing Automobiles Export Order jointly issued by Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (MOFCOM), NDRC, General Administration of Customs (GACC), AOSIO and CNCA, export enterprises must obtain the CCC certification for motor vehicles; according to the Implementation Rules for Compulsory Certification of Motor Vehicles (Automobile Products), new end-of-manufacturing motor vehicles must be accompanied with vehicle consistency certificate, which is the main basis for the Department of Motor Vehicles to check product consistency.

To improve manufacturing performance, the Zhejiang Provincial government introduced the “Made in Zhejiang” brand. It promoted the use of accredited certification to facilitate quality improvement.

The province produced 199 “Made in Zhejiang” standards, established “Made in Zhejiang” international certification alliance. Statistics in 2016 showed that average domestic market share of “Made in Zhejiang” accredited enterprises reached 21.6%, 15.9 percentage points higher than avergae; their total profits accounted for 13.5% of sales revenue, 6.9 percentage point higher than average.

“Made in Zhejiang” has also spurred a series of new voluntary certification activities initiated by local governments, such as “Shenzhen Standard”, “Guangdong Quality” and “Shanghai Quality”.

Product certification of air-conditioning products are mandatory in China for products that produce less than or equal to 21,000 kcal.

The applicable standards for air-conditioning products for CCC certification include GB 4706.1-2005, Household and similar electrical appliances safety-Part 1: General requirements (identical to IEC 60335-1:2001), GB 4706.32-2012, Household and similar electrical appliances safety—Particular requirements for electrical heat pumps, air-conditioners and dehumidifiers (equivalent to IEC 60335-2-40:2005), GB 4343.1-2009, Electromagnetic compatibility—Requirements for household appliances, electric tools and similar apparatus— Part 1: Emission (equivalent to IEC/CISPR 14-1:2005), and GB 17625.1-2012, Electromagnetic compatibility—Limits—Limits for harmonic current emissions (Equipment input current 16 A per phase) (equivalent to IEC 61000-3-2:2009 Ed.3.2). By 2015, 35,144 certificates have been issued for air-conditioning products, and product safety and quality have been significantly improved; the certification result is widely adopted in such government- leading projects as “Household Appliances Going to the Countryside”, energy-saving and people-benefiting project, energy efficiency labelling, and government procurement.

The former Ministry of Railways and the Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) jointly issued the Administrative Measures for Railway Product Certification in 2012, specifying that product certification becomes a key criteria for the use of special railway products. Both compulsory product certification and voluntary product certification are adopted for railway product certification.

The admissible catalogue of railway product certification is formulated, adjusted and published by the Ministry of Railways, which carries out the voluntary product certification management. Railway products under compulsory product certification management which are included in the Admissible Catalogue shall not be used in the railway field prior to obtaining certification. Certification body and testing bodies engaged in compulsory product certification shall be designated by the CNCA. Certification body engaged in product certification covered in the Admissible Catalogue shall be approved by the CNCA and confirmed by the Ministry of Railways.

The Party Central Committee and the State Council issued the Guidance on Quality Improvement Actions on September 5, 2017, which set out strategy deployment for quality improvement actions at the national level. The document proposes the main objectives as follows: by 2020, to improve supply quality, lift supply system efficiency, obtain prominent results in building a quality power, significantly lift overall quality level, further enhance quality contribution to improve total element productivity and facilitate economic development.

CNCA released the Action Plan on Quality Improvement Supported by Certification and Accreditation on June 9, 2017, which develops leading quality improvement actions in 10 aspects of certification and accreditation, focusing on national key strategies e.g. serving agricultural supply-side structural reform, “Made in China 2025”, ecological civilization construction and the “Belt and Road” Initiatives. At present, such quality improvement actions have been implemented first in the seven industries such as building, aviation, machinery, automobiles, household appliances, toys and foods. The Action Plan includes:

— Uniform integration of certification system for green products. In accordance with the State Council’s deployment and requirements, prepare unified green products certification catalogue and implementation rules, give priority to certification of products closely related to consumers and promote green production and green consumption.

—Creation of a high quality certification service. In terms of agricultural supply-side reform, cultivate a number of certified brands for high-end agricultural products and agricultural materials and increase the supply of green agricultural products of high quality; in terms of “Made in China 2025”, promote product certification for robots, the Internet of Things, etc. and guide the manufacturing industry to stride into mid-and high-end level; in terms of quality improvement and upgrade of service industry, accelerate the promoting of certification of services in the fields of old-age support, education, sanitation, health care, logistics, finance, etc. In terms of regional economic development, support local government in utilizing the certification and accreditation means to create regional quality brands.

The Global Innovation Index (GII) provides detailed metrics about the innovation performance of 127 countries and economies around the world. The index is the result of a collaboration between Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The GII has gained international recognition, establishing itself as both a leading reference on innovation and a ‘tool for action’ for decision makers. It recognises the link between innovation as an engine for economic and social growth in an increasingly knowledge-based global economy.

One of the 81 indicators used to measure a country’s innovation performance is the number of accredited certificates to the quality management system standard, ISO 9001.

The 2017 report can be accessed from the Global Innovation Index website.

Source: Cornell University, INSEAD, and WIPO (2017): The Global Innovation Index 2017: Innovation Feeding the World, Ithaca, Fontainebleau, and Geneva.

The World Health Organisation’s International Health Regulations have been developed to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease in ways that are commensurate with and restricted to public health risks, and which avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade. Economies are required to develop certain minimum core public health capacities. Access to accredited laboratories provides clear evidence of an economy’s sustainable ability to respond.

Further information is available on the WHO website.

The decision of the Standing Committee of the National People ‘s Congress on the Administration of Forensic Science (Adopted at the 14th Session of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People’ s Congress (NPC)) states that legal persons or other organisations who apply to conduct forensic science shall meet the following condition: the applicant shall have a testing laboratory, which has obtained China Metrology Approval or CNAS accreditation, necessary for conducting forensic science.

Article 20 of the Chinese Regulations on Biosafety Management of Pathogenic Microorganisms Laboratory (State Council Decree No. 424) state that Biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) and BSL-4 laboratories shall obtain CNAS accreditation.

Article 21 states that BSL-1 and BSL-2 laboratories are not permitted to conduct experimental activities of highly pathogenic microorganisms. BSL-3 and BSL-4 laboratories that are allowed to conduct experimental activities of highly pathogenic microorganisms shall meet the following conditions: (a) the purpose of the experiment and the experimental activities to be carried out shall be in accordance with the regulations of Ministry of Health or Veterinary Bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture; (b) the laboratory shall obtain CNAS accreditation.

The administration of Green Market Certification (announcement No.14 by CNCA and Ministry of Commerce in 2003 – Chapter II Organizational Management – Article 7) states that a certification body that conducts green market certification shall be checked and approved by CNCA (Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China) in accordance with Regulations on Certification and Accreditation and with advice from Ministry of Commerce. The approved certification body shall obtain accreditation from an accreditation body.

The administration of HACCP Management System Certification (announcement No.3 by CNCA in 2002 -Article 9) states that organisations that conduct HACCP Management System Certification shall be approved by CNCA (Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of china) and accredited by CNAS.

The Food Safety Law of the People’s Republic of China (adopted at the 7th Session of the Standing Committee of the 11th NPC on February 28, 2009 and revised at the 14th Session of the Standing Committee of the 12th NPC on April 24, 2015) states that the food inspection agency engaging in food inspection activities shall obtain qualification approval in accordance with relevant provisions of certification and accreditation, except as otherwise provided by law.

Further details can be found on the National People’s Congress website.

Article 6 the People’s Republic of China Law on Import and Export Commodity Inspection (revised on April 28, 2002) states that the required import and export commodity inspection refers to conformity assessment activities which confirm that the imported and exported goods listed in the catalogue meet the mandatory requirements of the national technical regulations. Conformity assessment procedures include sampling, testing and inspection; assessment, validation and conformity assurance; registration, accreditation and approval, and the combinations of multiple items.

Further details can be found on the National People’s Congress website.

Article 7 of the administration of Software Processes and Capability Maturity Assessment (CNCA No.4 announcement in 2005) states that the establishment of an assessment body shall have a management system that meets the requirements of software process and capability maturity assessment, and accreditation. This approach provides businesses with a powerful tool for understanding and then improving general business process performance.

The implementation Measures on Information System Integration and Service Qualification Operation and Maintenance Sub-qualification (Trial) (promulgated by China Information Technology Industry Federation on August 18, 2015) states that an organisation shall establish a complete IT service management system, which has run continuously and effectively for not less than one year, and has obtained a certificate granted by an accredited third-party certification body.

The administration of Testing and Certification of the Payment Service System of Non-financial Institutions (promulgated by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) [2011] No. 14) states that the testing organisation shall obtain qualification approval in accordance with relevant provisions of certification, obtain CNAS accreditation, and PBOC authorisation of testing the payment service system of non-financial institutions. The certification body shall be established upon the approved of CNCA, accredited by CNAS, and authorised by PBOC to certify the payment service system of non-financial institutions.

Article 4 of the administration on Laboratories for Quality Control and Technical Evaluation of Industrial Products (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology [2010] No. 93, Chapter II) sets out the laboratory’s basic conditions, tasks and obligations, including that it shall have national laboratory qualification approval or obtain CNAS accreditation.

Article 8 of the administration of Sports Service Certification (announcement No. 32 by CNCA and General Administration of Sport in 2005) states that bodies that provide certification of sports services shall be approved by CNCA (Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China) before offering sports service certification within the approved scope. When approving the scope of the certification body’s sports service certification, CNCA shall solicit suggestions from General Administration of Sport. The CB shall have the technical competence to carry out the certification of sports service and obtain accreditation from an accreditation body confirmed by CNCA.

Through the development and implementation of energy efficiency standards and labelling system, the two Ministries, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), are committed to improving the energy efficiency of energy-consuming products to promote energy-saving technology, reduce the discharge of harmful waste and protect the environment. In order to ensure the authenticity and accuracy of the product identification data, only the test data and reports provided by laboratories that have obtained CNAS accreditation are acceptable.

National enterprises are required to fill in ‘Evaluation Date Form of National Enterprises Technical Centre’. The enterprise gets preferential status in their evaluation score if its laboratory has obtained CNAS accreditation for public works.

A market survey covering North America and Europe conducted jointly by the International Federation of Inspection Agencies (IFIA) and the International Confederation of Inspection and Certification Organisations (CEOC) found that 17% of various electrical home appliances verified through self-declaration of conformity (SDoC) showed safety-critical failures, resulting in a high risk of shock or fire. This compares to less than 1% for products with third-party accredited certification.

For sensitive and high-risk products, a more robust approach that relies on independent third party, on either a mandatory or voluntary basis, should be taken to ensure that products placed on the market are safe, compliant and sustainable.

A full copy of the report is available here.

The World Bank-GFDRR report Building Regulation for Resilience: Managing Risks for Safer Cities released in April 2016 outlines the benefits of strong and effective building regulatory frameworks. The report provides a resource to assist policy makers, governments, donor entities, as well as key private sector players in leveraging good-practice building regulation to underpin risk reduction strategies. It addresses vulnerability reduction in cities across the developing world and proposes to support disaster-prone countries in implementing effective regulatory reform.

The use of accredited testing, inspection and certification are referenced as tools to support local regulators and building control.

Download the Report | Executive Summary

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE or ECE) has published a Common Regulatory Framework for Equipment Used in Environments with an Explosive Atmosphere 2011 requiring the use of accredited conformity assessment bodies.

Part 4 – Common Regulatory Objectives, Recognition of conformity assessment bodies 

Clause 33             
The accreditation of conformity assessment bodies and test laboratories has to follow the applicable ISO/IEC International Standards. The accreditation body has to be member of International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation/International Accreditation Forum (ILAC/IAF). One member of the assessor team needs competence in the field of explosion protection.

Clause 34
Certificates have to be in line with ISO System No. 5 requirements of the applicable ISO/IEC Guide

Clause 35
Certificates have to be in line with ISO System No. 5 requirements of the applicable ISO/IEC Guide

Further information is available on the UNECE website.

PRAISE is a project co-funded by the European Commission and implemented by European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) on Preventing Road Accidents and Injuries for the Safety of Employees (PRAISE). The project aims to advance work-related Road Safety Management and provide the know-how to employers who have to take on that challenge. It also aims to present the work-related road safety standards of EU Member States and carry out advocacy work at the EU level: work-related road safety is an area of road safety policy that clearly needs renewed political commitment.

Their 2012 report ‘Preventing Road Accidents and Injuries for the Safety of Employees: Work Related Road Safety Management Programmes’ stated that, ‘ISO 39001… will provide a useful framework for the continual improvement of road safety work.’

Click here for further details

As part of Pillar 1 on Road Safety management, the UN’s Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 Activity 3 is to, ‘Develop a national strategy (at cabinet or ministerial level) coordinated by the lead agency ‘promoting road safety management initiatives such as the new ISO traffic safety management standard ISO 39001’.

This global plan was set up by the UN General Assembly under resolution A/RES58/289 on “Improving global road safety”, a task taken forward by the World Health Organisation.

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The World Organisation for Animal Health requires diagnostic tests for aquatic animals to be carried out by laboratories accredited by ILAC MRA signatories.

A copy of the manual can be downloaded here.

Further information is available on the organisation website.

The ISO website ‘Using and referencing ISO and IEC standards to support public policy‘ references a wide range of instances where different standards are used to deliver food safety policy.

Leading food standards include ISO 22000, Food safety management systems — Requirements for any organization in the food chain and  ISO 22005, Traceability in the feed and food chain — General principles and basic requirements for system design and implementation.

The work of the ISO Technical Committee responsible for food safety standards (TC 34) has been a key contributor to the CODEX International Food Standards, with over 100 standards generated by TC 34 endorsed by CODEX.

Further information from the ISO website

The ISO website ‘Using and referencing ISO and IEC standards to support public policy‘ references a wide range of instances where different standards are used to deliver environmental policy.

Leading standards include ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standard and ISO 50001 Energy Management System standard, as well as standards used to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere (ISO 14064 series & ISO 14065).

These standards have been used in a variety of mandatory and voluntary schemes from carbon trading to sustainable development policy.

Further information from the ISO website

The Chinese Government’s recognition of New Zealand certification and testing for electrical goods benefits exporters under the “Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) Mutual Recognition Agreement”.

Under Chinese Law, certain products require Chinese Compulsory Certification (CCC) run by the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China (CNCA). That process involves testing of the product in an accredited laboratory, inspection of the factory production line and certification of the whole process by an accredited certification body, recognised by the Chinese Government under the CCC scheme. This agreement enables New Zealand to become the first country in the world to test, inspect and certify electrical products outside of China for the Chinese market. (China and New Zealand)

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The Chinese Government’s recognition of New Zealand certification and testing for electrical goods benefits exporters under the “Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) Mutual Recognition Agreement”.

Under Chinese Law, certain products require Chinese Compulsory Certification (CCC) run by the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China (CNCA). That process involves testing of the product in an accredited laboratory, inspection of the factory production line and certification of the whole process by an accredited certification body, recognised by the Chinese Government under the CCC scheme. This agreement enables New Zealand to become the first country in the world to test, inspect and certify electrical products outside of China for the Chinese market. (China and New Zealand)

Click here for further details

A study carried out by ISO’s Technical Committees to identify whether standards play a role in preventing accidental fatalities, revealed that country-level participation in the ISO’s technical committees – the group of experts that develops standards – showed that a 1 per cent increase in technical committee participation was associated with a 0.19% decrease in accidental deaths.

Further information is available here.

This short infographic provides data and examples to demonstrate the impact of the National Quality Infrastructure in terms of

  • Enhanced Competitiveness
  • Reduced Testing & Certification Burden
  • Expanded and Open Markets
  • Increased Innovation & Technology Diffusion
  • Improved Efficiency
  • Increased Productivity Gains
  • Safety, Health, Environmental Application

A more detailed description of how the QI enhances competition is available at

This study, which resulted from a research project commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), aimed to assess the impacts that quality services contribute to improve the understanding at the political, entrepreneurial and academic levels about the relevance of quality infrastructures to the functioning of innovation systems, how they enhance the performance of economic agents and improve the outcomes of social, economic and environmental policies.

The key objectives aimed to identify the following positive areas:

  • the identification of the range of positive and negative effects that they have in societies;
  • to advise policy makers on how the accomplishment of their strategic goals may be facilitated through the development of quality services;
  • To raise awareness of consumers, firms and industries about the existence of such an institutional complex, i.e. how it shall be used as a platform where various economic agents are to participate and interact in order to address to a multitude of social, economic and environmental challenges;
  • to learn ways of improving the functioning of the existing quality infrastructure.

A copy of the report is available on the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) website.

Standardisation and standards have often been perceived as a contradiction to innovation. This report provide conceptual arguments and empirical evidence that standardisation as such and standards can be used as to promote innovation especially in three different areas. After a brief section on the general economic functions of standards, the relationship between research and standardisation is examined by first showing both standardization as a technology transfer channel and standards as enablers and facilitators for research. The second area focuses on the difficult but promising issue of transferring intellectual property rights (IPR) into standards, and shows how this can be beneficial both for IPR holders and standards implementers. The third newly emerging field concerns the role of standards and standardization in procurement processes, which are more and more forced to address and promote innovation. In the final chapter, the results are summarised and recommendations for policy makers are derived.

A copy of the report is available on the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) website.

Author: Knut Blind, TU Berlin, Rotterdam School of Management and Fraunhofer FOKUS

A publication titled “Good practices: Experience in the Market Surveillance of ISO 9001 quality management systems” has been released by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

The report presents the lessons learnt and good practices in applying Market Surveillance methodology to monitor the effectiveness of ISO 9001 certification in manufacturing enterprises and to evaluate the performance of respective accredited certification bodies.

The report concludes that the proper use of ISO 9001–based quality management systems assists developing countries in promoting sustainable trade, thereby helping them achieve inclusive and sustainable industrial development and the 2030 development agenda.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the UNIDO website.

Reducing unnecessary trade costs is an important aspect of International Regulatory Co-operation (IRC). But trade costs are only one of the many considerations that countries take into account when engaging in bilateral, plurilateral or multilateral efforts to address non-tariff measures that are related to differences in regulations. They are also concerned about pursuing domestic regulatory objectives. This report develops an analytical framework to help understand the trade-offs between trade costs and domestic regulatory objectives that will determine outcomes of IRC. It shows the possible scope and landing zones of IRC initiatives, ranging from simple information exchange to negotiations to harmonize regulations between countries. The analytical approach is based on economic game theory and provides a basis for regulators and trade negotiators to determine which specific IRC approach would be promising to pursue.

The report states that the ILAC and IAF global arrangements provide the platform for trade cost reductions. A full copy of the report is available from the OECD website.

ILAC and IAF, the global accreditation associations, have contributed to research conducted by OECD to analyse the impact of international organisations (IOs) in supporting regulatory co-operation. The research identified that International organisations (IOs) play a growing role as standard setting bodies in supporting regulatory co-operation with evidence showing that IOs contribute to International Regulatory Co-operation (IRC) by:

  • offering platforms for continuous dialogue on regulatory issues;
  • facilitating the comparability of approaches and practices;
  • providing member countries with flexible mechanisms to identify and adapt to new and emerging regulatory areas or issues;
  • contributing to the development of a common regulatory language
  • developing international legal and policy instruments.

The OECD gathered unique evidence from 50 international organisations on their governance, operational modalities, rule-making practices and approaches to assessing implementation and impacts, which is presented in the report International Regulatory Co-operation: the Role of International Organisations in Fostering Better Rules of Globalisation (launched 2 November 2016)This comparative analysis takes into account the diversity of mandates, expertise and strengths of the 50 participating IOs.

By establishing the international accreditation arrangements based on the mutual recognition of certificates and reports issued by conformity assessment bodies, the development of common rules and policies, and the harmonising of accreditation practices, the report identified that ILAC and IAF play a growing role in supporting regulatory co-operation.

This OECD work on IRC and IOs is part of a broad study into the various mechanisms available to governments to promote regulatory co-operation, and their benefits and challenges. A full copy of the report is available from the OECD website.

While there is a substantial body of literature on the economic theory of international standards, and their presumed effects, much less is known about how international standards work in practice. This paper surveys empirical studies investigating the relationship between international standards and trade. The main focus is on econometric studies using secondary data on international standards and trade, but surveys and some of the literature investigating the relationship between standards and other economic measures, such as productivity, growth and welfare are also summarised.

The paper sets out some conclusions that can be drawn from the econometric studies that have sought to estimate the relationship between international standards and trade:

  • In most studies, when exporting countries use international standards, this has in most cases a positive (or at least neutral) effect on their export performance.
  • When exporting countries use national standards (i.e. standards specific to country x), that may lead to superior export performance by x.
  • When the importing countries also adopt international standards, the most common effect is also to increase imports. The exceptions can in part be explained.
  • When the importing country uses national standards, the results are more diffuse. For studies that relate exclusively to voluntary standards, the effects are distributed quite evenly. For studies that relate to regulations (i.e. mandatory standards), the effects on imports tend to be negative.

A full copy of the report is available from the OECD website.

This report provides a comprehensive account of quality systems for private sector development: what works on the ground and what doesn’t, and why. It explains why quality and standards matter for export growth, productivity, industrial upgrading, and diffusion of innovation, all central ingredients in improving economic growth and generating real gains in poverty reduction. The report examines the diversity of institutions, linkages, and arrangements involved in quality systems, identifying success factors and obstacles in the quality strategies of particular countries. A portion of the volume is devoted to experiences in Latin America and the Caribbean, a region with a great deal at stake in the drive to improve quality. Policy makers in Latin America and throughout the developing world will find Quality Systems and Standards for a Competitive Edge to be a valuable tool for meeting the challenges of building trade competitiveness in the new global economy.

A full copy of the report is available on the World Bank website.


In many countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA), the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) does not support business competitiveness, though this is one of its functions in organization for economic co-operation and development countries. In most of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, it even impedes competitiveness. The most common economic benefits of adopting standards include increased productive and innovative efficiency. Standards lead to economies of scale, allowing suppliers to achieve lower costs per unit by producing large, homogeneous batches of products. Standards spur and disseminate innovation, solve coordination failures, and facilitate the development of profitable networks. Participation in world trade increasingly requires that suppliers comply with standards determined by lead buyers in global value chains. The nature of participation in the global economy has changed dramatically over the past two decades. Rarely do producers turn raw materials into final products and sell them directly to customers. Improving the quality of goods and services and diversifying into sectors where quality matters can be a sustainable source of global competitiveness. Some of the productive tasks associated with high-quality goods have high learning and technological externalities. In those sectors, producers tend to form tight relationships with global buyers who transfer their knowledge and support the producers’ quality-upgrading processes. Diversifying into a broad range of sectors also reduces macroeconomic volatility, but quality upgrading becomes necessary to enter new sectors that compete on quality.

A full copy of the report is available on the World Bank website.

Citation  “Racine, Jean-Louis. 2011. Harnessing Quality for Global Competitiveness in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. World Bank. © World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”


National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) reforms are an important part of broader efforts aimed at enhancing trade and investment opportunities, opening markets for new innovative products, and improving the business environment. As demand to access new markets and compete with higher quality products rises, the World Bank Group is committed to supporting government’s efforts to build a more harmonized and integrated NQI. This leaflet sets out how the World Bank can support the development of standards, accreditation and metrology systems to boost economic performance and cross-border investment decisions.

A full copy of the leaflet is available here. World Bank NQI Leaflet

Standards define how products, processes, and people interact with each other and their environments. They enhance competitiveness by offering proof that products and services adhere to requirements of governments or the marketplace. When used effectively, they facilitate international trade and contribute to technology upgrading and absorption. This brief discusses the importance, the central elements, and constraints to success of national quality infrastructure.

A full copy of the policy document is available on the World Bank website.

This report draws on UNECE assessment models and incorporates the lessons learnt from the needs assessment studies on Belarus and Kazakhstan, carried out by the UNECE secretariat in 2010 and 2011, respectively. The methodology is meant to bring to the fore:

  • A common understanding of key regulatory and procedural barriers to trade. While actors may have a broadly shared intuitive view of such obstacles, they may differ at the technical level when it comes to attributing causes to each obstacle and to estimating the magnitude of its impact.
  • A common approach to addressing the identified barriers in a manner that is responsive to the specific needs of each country and every actor in the international trade supply chain.
  • Conflicting policy objectives related to trade development and trade facilitation.
  • Procedures and regulations that could be improved through systematic:
    • Simplification – the elimination of all unnecessary elements and duplication in formalities, processes and procedures;
    • Harmonization – the alignment of national formalities, procedures, documents, information, and operations with acceptable international commercial norms, practices and recommendations.
    • Standardization – the implementation of internationally recognized formats for procedures, as well as documentary and information requirements.
  • Capacity shortfalls in the existing trade support institutional framework (understood as comprising infrastructure, trade support organizations and state agencies, including those involved in supporting quality control), which could be improved through targeted investments.
  • Shortcomings in existing public-private sector consultative mechanisms related to the development and implementation of regulatory policies

A special focus is also given to assessing national standardization policies, technical regulations, quality assurance, accreditation and metrology (SQAM) system, in terms of its capacity to contribute to a conducive trading environment where regulatory and procedural barriers are reduced to a minimum.

A full copy of the report is available on the UNECE website.


This report gathers together OECD working papers on the tools, governance and institutions of better regulation and their impact on policy outcomes. It includes both technical and analytical material, prepared by staff and experts in the field. Together, the papers provide valuable context and background for OECD publications on regulatory policy and governance.

The paper relies on an empirical stocktaking of mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) among selected OECD countries, the systematic review of mutual recognition clauses in trade agreements, case studies of the specific experience of the EU internal market, the Trans-Tasman arrangement, and the MRA between the US and the EU, and an extensive review of the literature. The report references the ILAC MRA and the IAF MLA as case studies.

A full report is available on the OECD website.



Anabela Correia de Brito, Céline Kauffmann, Jacques Pelkmans

To have an in-depth understanding of the actual impact of ISO 9001 certification on organisations, Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) and UNIDO jointly conducted a survey of the effectiveness of ISO 9001 quality management system certification in China from September 2012 to September 2013. China has overtaken the early implementers of ISO 9001 and now represents approximately 30% of the 1.1 million ISO 9001 certificates issued worldwide. The survey covers the whole of China (except Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau). Over 9000 questionnaires were sent out to ISO 9001-certified organizations and institutional purchasers in China, and 6974 effective completed questionnaires were collected. Physical on-site visits were conducted by trained experts at 958 certified organizations.

According to the survey results:

  • 93% of all the institutional purchasers surveyed expressed that they regarded ISO 9001 certification as an important criterion for evaluation of their suppliers.
  • 75% said their perception of the credibility of ISO 9001 CBs operating in China is “good” or “very good”.
  • Purchasers had a good level of satisfaction with their ISO 9001-certified suppliers.
  • Of the various parameters studied, the highest level of satisfaction is with the product quality of ISO 9001-certified suppliers (98% purchasers stated that they were satisfied, including 7% of all purchasers who were very satisfied).
  • Compared with non-certified suppliers (or comparing the same supplier before and after certification), most purchasers think that the performance of certified suppliers is notably better than that of non-certified suppliers (or the same supplier before certification).

Among all the certified organizations surveyed;

  • 51% said the most important reason for them to implement a QMS was to obtain competitive advantages, for internal improvement or to achieve corporate or top management objectives
  • 43 % said the most important reason was to gain market access or to respond to customer pressure or tender requirements
  • 6% said it was for marketing and/or public relations.
  • 98% of the organizations surveyed said that regardless of the overall cost, the implementation of ISO 9001 had been a good or a very good investment.
  • Most of the certified organizations said they obtained substantial benefits from the implementation of an ISO 9001-based QMS. 9% of the certified organizations estimated that it brought a benefit of up to RMB 100,000, either in cost savings and/or increased profits. 39% believed it to be between RMB 100,000 to 1,000,000. (c.US$ 15,000 – US$ 150,000)
  • 37% estimated that it could bring more than RMB 1,000,000 of benefits (either cost savings or increased profits).

A full copy of the report can be read on the UNIDO website.

Using a new database on standards in China, the authors estimate the impact of voluntary and mandatory standards–either harmonized to international norms or purely domestic–on Chinese food exports. The dataset covers seven Chinese products over the period 1992–2008. The authors find that standards have a positive effect on China’s export performance, as the benefits to standardization in terms of reducing potential information asymmetry and signalling enhance food safety, and quality in foreign markets seem to surpass compliance costs. The estimation results show that the positive effect of Chinese standards is larger when they are harmonized to international measures. The results suggest that there are clear benefits to China’s steps to base their domestic standards and regulations on international measures.

A copy of the report is available on the ResearchGate website.



Axel Mangelsdorf, BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, Germany, and Technical University Berlin, Chair of Innovation Economics

Alberto Portugal-Perez ,World Bank

John S. Wilson, World Bank

The paper addresses the role of technical standards in bilateral trade relationship between the European Union (EU) and China. Traditional aggregate demand functions for imports and exports have been applied to estimate the effects of national and international standards. The panel dataset covers 14 years (1995–2008) and 36 two-digit technological fields based on the International Classification of Standards (ICS). The results indicate negative effects of purely national Chinese standards but positive effects of Chinese international standards for European exports. European standards and European standards aligned with international standards have a positive impact on exports and imports. Based on these results, we conclude that both China and the EU should increase their efforts to harmonise national standards.
The role of technical standards for trade between China and the European Union (PDF Download Available). Available from:



Axel Mangelsdorf, BAM Federal Institute of Material Research and Testing, Germany







Research implications


W.M. To (School of Business, Macao Polytechnic Institute, Macao SAR, People’s Republic of China); Peter K.C. Lee (Department of Logistics, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong SAR, People’s Republic of China); Billy T.W. Yu (School of Business, Macao Polytechnic Institute, Macao SAR, People’s Republic of China)

W.M. To, Peter K.C. Lee, Billy T.W. Yu, (2011) “ISO 9001:2000 implementation in the public sector: A survey in Macao SAR, the People’s Republic of China“, The TQM Journal, Vol. 23 Iss: 1, pp.59 – 72


This paper investigates the influence of sustainable business development on manufacturing plant operations. Among the three pillars of sustainability consisting of environmental, social and economic longevity and foresight of a firm, we focus on the environmental component. Specifically, basing our arguments on the resource-based view of the firm, we hypothesize the impact of environmental management on plant performance. Environmental initiatives considered include ISO 14000 certification, pollution prevention, recycling of materials, and waste reduction; plant performance is assessed with the dimensions of the four competitive capabilities of quality, delivery, flexibility, and cost.

Further, building on the theory of performance frontiers, we investigate these relationships across plants located in different economic regions of the world (plants are classified into emerging, developing and industrialized regions). We suggest that recent emphasis on these environmental initiatives has been greatest among plants located in emerging economies, compared to their counterparts in industrialized and developing nations. In addition, we contend that the influence of these initiatives is greatest for plants located in emerging and developing economies when compared to plants in industrialized nations. These notions are tested with data collected from 1211 plants located in these three economic regions. Overall, this study contributes to the investigation of strategies for sustainable business development, highlighting important implications for both theory and practice.


Tobias Schoenherr, The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management, Michigan State University, Department of Supply Chain Management, USA


The role of environmental management in sustainable business development: A multi-country investigation‘, International Journal of Production Economics, Volume 140, Issue 1, November 2012, Pages 116–128

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Economic Research and Statistics Division produced the report ‘International Standards and the WTO TBT Agreement: Improving Governance for Regulatory Alignment‘ (Erik Wijkström and Devin McDaniels, WTO, 19 March 2013), with some key points on the value of key conformity assessment tools such as ISO standards and ILAC accreditation.

Of particular interest as regards conformity assessment is 3.1.1, the section on Specific Trade Concerns, ‘One of the core functions of the TBT Committee is acting as a forum to address trade issues – these are referred to as “Specific Trade Concerns” (STCs). These are concerns that one or several Members have with the design or implementation of another Member’s measure. An analysis of the TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) Committee’s records shows that about one third of all STCs raised in the TBT Committee are associated in one way or another with the subject of international standards. By “associated” we mean that international standards have been mentioned by a delegation in the discussion of a particular trade concern – either by reference to a specific body or organization, or through general reference to the existence (or non-existence) of some source of international guidance.’

‘While over forty different bodies or organizations are mentioned, a number of them recur frequently in discussion. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is mentioned in 30% of STCs associated with international standards; the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) in 10%.’

The report gives a number of examples of the kind of problem, including: ‘Lead in pottery. The European Union objected to a Mexican draft standard for glazed pottery, ceramics and porcelain, which mandated more stringent lead and cadmium limits than those laid down in the relevant international ISO standards (ISO 6486-1/2). Specifically, the European Union was concerned that Mexican authorities would no longer accept test results accompanying EU ceramic tableware conducted in compliance with these ISO standards. Mexico explained that while its draft standard was partially based on ISO standards, it deviated in certain aspects due to a greater level of health protection required by Mexico, and due to the circumstances of Mexico as a developing country.’

The conclusion of this kind of problem is that ‘The vast majority (around 90%) relate to some form of “challenge” on international standards (from one Member to another). The tone of the discussions may range from a polite request for clarification about the use or non-use of international standards in a measure, to a direct accusation that a Member is not following a specific (and in their view relevant) international standard and therefore violating a WTO discipline.’

The use of  international standards and systems in world trade, such as ISO and ILAC which stick to the ‘Six Principles’ of Transparency, Openness, Impartiality and Consensus, Effectiveness and Relevance, Coherence and Development Dimension, would reduce the instances of the STCs.

Click here for further details, including access to the full report


Companies use standards as a tool to signal their investments in quality upgrading and performance. The authors argue that the impact of this signal depends on the trust in the accreditation system and the development status of a country. Representing the workhorse of research in international trade, the authors use a gravity model to examine the trade effects of ISO 9000 diffusion and cooperation in accreditation. The model is estimated by applying a country-pair fixed effects regression approach with instrumental variables and multilateral resistance terms to a panel data set covering a 13-year period from 1999 to 2012. This allows them to test their hypotheses with respect to the moderating role of international cooperation in accreditation on the trade effects of ISO 9000 diffusion. They show that certification promotes trade and that signatories to the Multilateral Recognition Arrangement of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF MLA) trade significantly more. The IAF MLA is of particular importance to the trade among developing countries. For policy makers, our results highlight the importance of support for accreditation institutions in developing countries.

A full copy of the report is available from the Research Gate website.

Authors: Axel Mangelsdorf, Knut Blind, Jakob Pohlisch

Regulators can rely on ISO standards as a solid base on which to create public policy that helps further SDG goals such as human rights, water and energy efficiency, public health, and more. Recognized the world over, International Standards also help governments achieve their national and international commitments. Read more.

An efficient and effective quality and standards ecosystem—also referred to as quality infrastructure (QI)—is an essential ingredient for competitiveness, access to new markets, productivity improvement, innovation of new products, and environmental protection, as well as health and safety of populations. In short, QI is not only key to a country’s growth, but also essential in creating a safer, cleaner, and more equitable and well-integrated world.

The World Bank Group recognises the importance of QI as an ecosystem and has produced a comprehensive QI diagnostics and reform guide with input from ILAC and IAF. The guide provides help to countries to develop or strengthen their own quality and standards ecosystems—to diagnose, build, and reform the complex elements of an effective, modern QI. It also references the UK study into the impact of accreditation.

The guide can be downloaded from the World Bank website.

Setting up a Quality Infrastructure System is one of the most positive and practical steps that a developing nation can take on the path forward to developing a thriving economy as a basis for prosperity, health and well-being.

UNIDO published this short video to set out the fundamental principles of developing a national quality infrastructure to ensure that the system contributes to governmental policy objectives in areas including industrial development, trade competitiveness in global markets, the efficient use of natural and human resources, food safety, health, the environment and climate change.

Watch the video on YouTube.


The Chinese Accreditation Body (CNAS) created this video to demonstrate the broad impact that accreditation plays in delivering a safer world. The video can be viewed on the CNAS website.

The Chinese accreditation body (CNAS) have translated over 70 case studies from this website to support their engagement work with Government. They have published these case studies in a brochure which they distribute to Government officials to promote how accreditation is being used in other countries to solve policy problems.

Download a copy (In Mandarin)  认可采信国际实践(20160606定)

To support World Accreditation Day 2018, a short video was produced to demonstrate how accreditation delivers a safer world. The expectation of safe workplaces, safe products, safe transport, safe food, in fact all aspects of our lives is universally shared. Statistics however show that the expectation is not being matched by the reality.

A series of short case study videos can also be viewed on the ILAC / IAF YouTube channel.

ISO 13485:2016 – Medical devices – A practical guide has been authored by technical experts of ISO/TC 210. The handbook is intended to guide organizations in the development, implementation and maintenance of their quality management system in accordance with ISO 13485. Organizations active in the medical device sector, such as manufacturers, importers, distributors, service providers, certification bodies or regulatory bodies, can benefit from this publication.

Download the publication from the ISO website.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), has updated its trade recommendations to include references national accreditation systems and the global arrangements. UNECE Working Party 6 on Regulatory Cooperation & Standardization Policies which works to:

  • Promote the use of standards by policy-makers and business as a tool for reducing technical barriers to trade, promote increased resilience to disasters, foster innovation and good governance
  • Promote the use of standards in the implementation of UN-wide goals, including the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and the Sendai framework for action

Sixteen UNECE recommendations have been adopted to address standardization and regulatory issues. They set out good practice regarding Regulatory cooperation, Metrology, Standards and Norms, Conformity assessment, and Market surveillance.

While these recommendations are not binding and do not aim at rigidly aligning technical regulations across countries, they are used to encourage policy makers to base their regulations on international standards to provide a common denominator to the norms that apply in different markets.

All sixteen recommendations can be downloaded from the UNECE website.

The recommendations that reference accreditation are:

Recommendation F: Creation and Promotion of International Agreements on Conformity Assessment

Recommendation G: Acceptance of Conformity Assessment Results


ISO/CASCO has published a new brochure describing how “ISO Technical Committees (ISO/TCs) are often required to choose between developing requirements for a management system for an organisation’s activities, or developing requirements for the competence of an organisation to carry out its activities”.

Not only does this document assist ISO/TCs in understanding the difference between the two standards, but it is also helpful for organisations in the process of deciding whether to implement a management system or a competency based system. In addition, the brochure indicates the benefits and values of meeting either set of requirements.

The ISO/CASCO document – Frequency Asked Questions: Competency or Management System Based Standards?” is available here.

ISO has published a guide for SME’s wishing to implement a quality management system (QMS), providing practical advice and concrete examples tailored specifically for small businesses. A copy of the guidance is available from the ISO website.



UNIDO has published a briefing note to set out how setting up a Quality Infrastructure System can be one of the most positive and practical steps that a developing nation can take on the path forward to developing a thriving economy as a basis for prosperity, health and well-being. A Quality Infrastructure is a system contributing to governmental policy objectives in areas including industrial development, trade competitiveness in global markets, efficient use of natural and human resources, food safety, health, the environment and climate change.


Download a copy of the briefing note from the UNIDO website.

UNIDO has published a new brochure which highlights the contribution of accredited conformity assessment services to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNIDO’s vision to address today’s economic, social and environmental challenges is enshrined in the Lima Declaration, adopted by UNIDO Member States in December 2013.  On this basis, UNIDO pursues “Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development” to harness industry’s full potential to contribute to lasting prosperity for all.

17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 associated targets constitute the core of the UNIDO 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  These provide a new development framework that seeks to transform the world and guide all global, regional and national development endeavours for the next 15 years. UNIDO’s programmatic approach is guided by three interrelated thematic priorities: creating shared prosperity, advancing economic competitiveness, and safeguarding the environment.

Maintaining strategic partnerships and technical cooperations, together with the use of standards and compliance related activities, also form an important part of UNIDO’s approach. The relationship between UNIDO, the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), and ILAC is one such partnership.  This strategic partnership in the field of accreditation enables UNIDO, IAF and ILAC to coordinate activities in complementary and mutually supportive areas of operation, in order to enhance the impact of industrial development on economic growth.

A copy of the brochure is available on the UNIDO website.

The significance of an accreditation system for trade and the economy, as well as practical advice for the establishment of accreditation bodies, are the focus of a newly released publication titled, “Establishing accreditation in developing economies – A guide to opening the door for global trade”.

Prepared by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in cooperation with the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), the publication was launched at the ILAC – IAF joint General Assembly. The guide aims to support the common goal of “tested, inspected or certified once and accepted everywhere”.

It is comprised of two parts. The first part focuses on the need for accreditation and the benefits that an accreditation system can bring to good governance. It provides policymakers with a framework for establishing an accreditation body or partnering with neighbouring economies to form a shared system, which can bring an economy closer to its trading partners through mutually recognized arrangements of accreditation.

The second part offers comprehensive practical advice and building blocks to those who are tasked with establishing an accreditation body. It presents information on the essential operational requirements for accreditation bodies, and outlines available resources, as well as potential challenges. Case studies then follow to offer an illustration of practical applications of the guidance provided in the publication.

A copy of the brochure is available on the UNIDO website.

As someone who is involved in the selection of suppliers and, possibly, responsible for making purchasing decisions, you may have seen or used products and services that are promoted using reference to ISO 9001:2015. This informative text provides some answers to these questions and will inform you about how you can get the most out of using ISO 9001 as a supply chain tool.

A full copy of the brochure is available from the ISO website.

UNIDO’s Trade Capacity Building Branch has published a briefing paper to set out how it can support Developing Economies develop the effective building blocks of using accredited testing, inspection and certification, using hamonized standards, in order to boost trade.

Download a copy of the briefing from the UNIDO website.


A short video to show how standards, metrology and accreditation can help sustainable development in Developing economies.

Click to view.

Accreditation is a tool to demonstrate the competence of medical laboratories and ensure the delivery of timely, accurate and reliable results. Read more…

Accredited laboratories, inspection bodies, and certification bodies play a key role in both the provision of traditional energy sources and the development of renewables. Energy providers rely on accurate testing to monitor a range of areas from measuring flow and pressure to production output levels. Inspections are carried out to ensure that installations are safe. While certification demonstrates that providers have the appropriate processes and procedures in place to deliver the products and services.

Click to view.


Accredited testing, inspection and certification supports the provision of safe food and clean drinking water. Read more..

Regulators are increasingly relying on independent third party declarations of compliance to support their enforcement and monitoring activities.

Click to view.

Accredited testing, inspection and certification impacts on all industry sectors. This short video shows how accreditation underpins consumer safety and well-being in everyday life.

Click here to view.


The ILAC MRA and the IAF MLA remove the need for products and services to undergo additional tests, inspections and certification in each country where they are sold. These Arrangements remove technical barriers and therefore support cross-border trade.

Click to view


This factsheet sets out how to specify accredited services for external laboratories (testing, medical, and calibration) and inspection bodies, covered by the ILAC MRA.

Click to view.

The ILAC MRA supports international trade by promoting international confidence and acceptance of accredited laboratory data and inspection body data. Technical barriers to trade, such as the retesting of products, each time they enter a new economy would be reduced.

Click to view.

This document, developed by the ISO and the IEC, conveys to regulators the benefits of choosing to use and reference ISO and IEC standards for regulations and to demonstrate that doing so can support good regulatory practice.

Click to view.

This video from ISO (the International Organization for Standardization), explores the worldwide impact on business of the ISO 9000 family of international management standards.

Click to view.

SGS has created a portfolio of solutions to support compliance with regulatory requirements, enhance government revenue, facilitate trade, support efficiency and promote good governance along with sustainable development.

Click here to view.

Supporting the needs of Government is a core objective of ILAC and IAF members.

This document sets out ways to assist members to develop and maintain relationships with government at all levels.

Click to view.