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AAFA Restricted Substances Seminar. Overview of Current Laws in China Regarding RSL. Rosie Zhang International Compliance Group Dongguan – September 21, 2006. Content. RSL’s impact on Chinese Apparel and Footwear exports Legislation Process on RSL after China’s Entry of WTO

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AAFA Restricted Substances Seminar

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AAFA Restricted Substances Seminar

Overview of Current Laws in China Regarding RSL

Rosie Zhang

International Compliance Group

Dongguan – September 21, 2006


  • RSL’s impact on Chinese Apparel and Footwear exports

  • Legislation Process on RSL after China’s Entry of WTO

  • ‘World Factory’s Prospect of Eco-friendly Production

RSL’s impact on Chinese Apparel and Footwear exports 1)

  • Nowadays, environmental protection plays more and more important roles in the international trade. After China’s entry into WTO, environmental standard , safety certificate and other ‘green trade barriers’ have replaced textile quota and become the main barriers to Chinese export. Today’s topic (RSL) is about one of the new trends.

RSL’s impact on Chinese Apparel and Footwear exports 2)

  • According to the survey by the Ministry of Commerce, in 2002, there are 71% of export enterprises in China, that encountered restrictions of foreign technical trade barriers in different degree. 39% of export products were affected, causing a loss of over $17 billion, which is corresponded to 5.2 % of total annual export volume. The respective figures in 2000 were 66 %. 25 % and $11 billion.

The Recourses of Technical Barriers under the WTO Legal Regime 1)

  • Protecting human, animal or plant life or health, and conserving exhaustible natural resources, can be cited as reasons for bypassing normal trade rules according to GATT/WTO Article 20, General Exceptions.

The Recourses of Technical Barriers under the WTO Legal Regime 2)

  • Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)Agreement allows countries to adopt technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures for environmental protection, provided non-discrimination, transparency and other requirements are met.

Other Agreements that Contain Environment Related Provisions

  • Agreement on Agriculture

  • Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures

  • Agreement on Rules of Origin

  • Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures

  • Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights

  • General Agreement on Trade in Services

Trade-related Environmental Regulations in Developed Countries

Laws and regulations on

  • Air pollution control

  • Noise pollution control

  • Management of chemicals

  • Management of pesticides

  • Control of pollution caused by waste

  • Protection of natural resources and fauna and flora

  • Environment standards

Major International Standards regarding RSL 1):

  • ANSI, ASTM, AATCC standard

  • ISO standard

  • EU standard, a combination of DIN (Germany),BS(UK),NF (France) standard

  • Japanese national standard (JIS), Russian national standard (FOCT)

  • Oeko-Tex

  • Major international buyers’ internal standards

  • Standards set by international trade association,chamber of commerce,such as AAFA

Major International Standards regarding RSL 2):

  • Overview of various standards regarding RSL, the common ground is apparels and footwear should not contain any hazardous or harmful substances which cause harm or potential harm to human beings.

What is ‘Green Trade Barrier’?

  • Green trade barriers are a kind of technical trade barriers, which are means or measures taken by importing country to restrict goods directly or indirectly from abroad for the reason of protecting health and safety for human beings, fauna and flora, even for the purpose of banning trade.

Characteristics of ‘Green Trade Barrier’

  • Wide coverage

  • Relative and temporal effects

  • Difficult to judge the rationality of the measures

    • Protection of the environment and human, animal and plant safety, or

    • Trade protectionism

  • Advancing technical progress

International Law to Domestic Law- Green Trade Trend Requires Chinese Legislation

  • To establish Chinese national ‘green’ safeguard mechanism through legislation by following the international laws, regulations, standards and practice

  • To modify national environmental policies and regulations to comply to the signed international environmental agreements

  • To follow WTO general principles and rules

Purpose of Legalization of RSL

  • To protect environment

  • To protect of consumers’ health and safety

  • To protect of workers’ health and safety

  • To achieve world trade liberalization

<PRC Cleaner Production Promotion Law>(Implemented on 1st Jan.2003)

<Implementation Methods on Evaluation of Cleaner Production>(Implemented on 1st Oct.2004)

<Restricted or Forbidden Chemicals List>(Implemented on May 2005)

GB5296.4-1998 <Instructions on Textile and Garment Commodity>

GB18401-2001<Limitation on Content of Formaldehyde in Textile Product>

GB18383-2001 <General Technical Code for Wadding Products>

GB/T18885-2002<Technical Requirement on Eco-textile> (Implemented on 1st Jan.2003)

GB18401<National General Safety Technical Code for Textile Products> (Implemented on 1st Jan.2003 )

SN/T1649-200<The Safe Item Examination Norms for Import & Export Textile Products> (Implemented on 1st May 2006)

SN/T1522-2005 <General Safety Technical Code for Enfant and Children’s Wears> (Implemented on 1st May 2006)

Current Regulatory Rulings and Standards regarding RSL in China

National General Safety Technical Code for Textile Products

  • Code separated products for babies, products with direct contact to skin andproducts with indirect contact to skin into A, B and C three categories.

  • 5 major health &Safety related standards: formaldehyde content, pH, color fastness, odor and aromatic amines released by azo dyestuff during decomposition have been specified

  • Textiles in accordance with the code will be labelled with ‘GB 18401-2003’ mark.

Technical Requirement on Eco-textile

  • (1) No chlorine bleach

  • (2) No TBT/DBT and fire retardant

  • (3) No PCP& TecP

  • (4) No odor of mildewed, gasoline and toxic aromatic amine

  • (5) No AZO dyes, carcinogenic dyes, allergenic ayes

  • (6) Formaldehyde, heavy metals content, PH value, color fastness and pesticide residual content shall meet Oeko-100 Standard.

The Safe Item Examination Norms for Import & Export Textile Products

  • General safety standards were quoted from GB18401-2003 National General Safety Technical Code for Textile Products

  • Appendixes were listed with safety related technical requirement and limitation standards from other countries and regions (organizations)

  • List of hazardous dyestuff, pesticide, chlorine benzene, chlorine toluene, PVC plastizers (phthalates) and forbidden fire retardant materials was directly quoted from Oeko-Tex Standard 100-2005


  • China shall accelerate the establishment of its own standardization system according to the situation of the country and in accordance with international standards.

  • World Factory’s future is Eco-friendly Production.

Thank you for your attention!

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