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What is the China Compulsory Certificate (CCC)? Does my product need it?

Market access for products and services to China is not automatic: many products and services may require government approval before they can be imported in the Chinese market. These approvals come in various forms, such as licences, certifications, registrations, marks, and in some cases even individual approval of shipments. Compliance will be regularly checked at the borders, or by inspection authorities in China in case of products produced domestically.

One of these compulsory requirements is the China Compulsory Certificate (CCC)scheme. Introduced in 2002 by the China National Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA), the scheme applies to all products and systems – both imported and domestically manufactured – that are sold in China and that present health, safety and environmental protection risks. Any product or system that requires the CCC mark, must undergo a strict inspection, testing and certification procedure, before it can actually enter the Chinese market.

The product categories that require CCC certification are listed in the CCC catalogue. The Catalogue was last revised by SAMR in April 2020, and currently contains 103 categories of compulsory certification items, divided in 17 product groups, namely: (i) wires and cables; (ii) circuit switches and electrical devices for protection and connection; (iii) low-voltage apparatus; (iv) low power motors; (v) electrical tools; (vi) electric welders; (vii) equipment for household and similar uses; (viii) electronic products and safety accessories; (ix) lighting appliances; (x) motor vehicles and safety accessories; (xi) agricultural machinery; (xii) fire products; (xiii) security and protection products; (xiv) building material products; (xv) children products; (xvi) explosion-proof materials; and (xvii) household gas appliances. Products not listed in the Catalogue do not require CCC mark. In general, it can be said that products and systems requiring CCC mark are consumer products for personal/domestic use; industrial products for commercial use usually do not require CCC mark (but must comply with other factory- or work safety-related regulations). Products with low safety risks are also generally exempted from CCC mark – such as those with low-voltage (generally <12 volts).

The Catalogue specifies the basic information of the products and systems involved, i.e. their names, attributes and features, applicable scope and applicable standards. However, in some cases, products may be so complex that it becomes hard to assess clearly whether CCC is required or not. Sometimes, the specific name and description used to claim one product (for customs purposes) when exporting to China may also make a difference. Another possible way to assess whether CCC is required, is to consult whether the HS code under which one product is traded is included in the CCC Catalogue, available in the practical guidelines on CCC produced by the EU SME Centre in December 2020: