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Can I select foreign testing, inspeciton and certification bodies?

Testing, inspection and certification (TIC) requirements and procedures in China are mainly governed by the Regulations on Certification and Accreditation (中华人民共和国认证认可条例). By the end of 2019 there were 415 foreign-invested TIC bodies officially registered in China, a +23% increase on the previous year, but still accounting to less than 1% of the total TIC bodies registered in the country. Only TIC bodies officially registered in China can be selected for conformity assessment.

However, there are exceptions. Not all TIC bodies can be selected for all conformity assessment procedures; each body has specific fields of specialisation and must apply to the authorities to be able to release a certain certification. In fact, most certification schemes in China are released only by a limited number of officially recognised certification bodies – which may or may not include foreign-invested ones; such officially recognised certification bodies accept test results from different laboratories in China, which may or may not include foreign-invested ones. For instance, CCC certification can only be released by 35 officially recognised certification bodies – none of them is foreign-invested; these certification bodies might accept test results from 243 officially recognised laboratories, 6 of which are foreign-invested.

If a certification scheme does not have a specific list of officially recognised certification bodies (e.g., in the case of the Pre-shipment Inspection Certificate for used equipment), is it possible to use TIC bodies in Europe? In principle, yes, but there is evidence of test results occasionally not recognised by Chinese customs once the goods arrive in China, leading to delays. The advice, therefore, is to use those European TIC bodies with extensive experience working with China, or which have cooperation partnerships with Chinese TIC bodies.