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How can I find the relevant Chinese standard for my product? Full texts in English?

Chinese standards have different prefixes: GB and GB/T for national standards (mandatory and recommended, respectively); JB/JBT, YY/YYT for sectoral standards; DB and DB/T for local standards, etc.

Finding relevant Chinese standards for one product is not an easy task – it requires knowledge of China’s standardisation system and Chinese language. We strongly suggest working with professionals in this field, or to reach out to the EU SME Centre through our Ask-the-expert function for assistance. In any case, a preliminary search of standards can be done through the National Public Service Platform for Standards Information (全国标准信息公共信息服务平台) established by the State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR):  Users may:

  • Type in the query tool key words in English, as for each standard issued and published on the platform, the translation of the standard’s name in English is always provided. However, translations are not always entirely accurate.
  • Use the ‘advanced search’ tool, for a more targeted search based on various criteria, including the International Classification for Standards code (ICS, which can be obtained from ISO’s website). However, it must be noted that the ICS system is not particularly diffused in China; a better option is to use the Chinese Classification for Standards code (CCS).

The main issue with Chinese standards is that the full texts are not always available. Although in recent years China has made a lot of efforts to increase the transparency and public accessibility of its standards, this applies only to mandatory national standards (GB) and not to others – a dedicated platform was established by SAMR for this purpose:

In addition, nearly the totality of the full texts available are in Chinese; it is very rare that official translations in English of Chinese standards are produced, and if so, it is limited to Chinese standards which are being strongly pushed by the government to become the basis for new international standards, or for standards in countries where its exports are strong (e.g. electric vehicles in Belt and Road countries). To date, China has published only 500+ foreign language versions of GB standards, in cooperation with publishing houses, but these are accessible only after purchasing. Basic information in English on Chinese standards for a number of sectors can be found on the Europe-China Standardisation Information Platform or the SESEC projects. In some occasions, unofficial translations in English are done by foreign embassies or chambers of commerce in China.