Explanation of the “Opinions of the State Council on Strengthening the Construction of Quality Certification System and Promoting Total Quality Management”

time:2018-01-30 16:52:00  Author:  Source:

  Document No.1 of the Routine Policy Briefing of the State Council  

  Explanation of the “Opinions of the State Council on Strengthening the Construction of Quality Certification System and Promoting Total Quality Management”  (January 26, 2018)  

  General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People’s Republic of China



  1. What is the background of the issuance of the Opinions?

  Quality certification is an international tool generally used in quality management and trade facilitation, and also a fundamental system for strengthening quality management and increasing market efficiency in market economy. Its nature being “delivering trust and serving development”, quality certification passes trust to consumers, enterprises, government, society and the international market, effectively improves enterprise management level and the quality of products and services, protects the interests of consumers, promotes trade facilitation, and serves economic and social development. It can be vividly called the health certificate of quality management, the letter of credit in market economy, and the pass of international trade. In recent years, China’s quality certification system has been constantly improving, organizations in this sector have been booming, and international exchanges and cooperation have been ever deepening. In the meantime, there still exist some problems, such as low social awareness and narrow application, insufficient supply of certification service, and the need for normalization of certification and related assessment activities.

  The 19th CPC National Congress report points out that China’s economy has been transitioning from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development. We must put quality first, give priority to performance, and work hard for better quality. We must aim at improving the quality of the supply system, enhance our economy’s strength in terms of quality, and build our nation’s quality power. With the transition of China’s economy to a stage of high-quality development, the degree of marketization and internationalization getting higher, quality certification, which is featured by marketization and internationalization, has become increasingly important. In September 2017, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council issued “Guidelines on Quality Improvement Actions”, which set the missions to implement the quality power strategy and to initiate quality improvement actions, put forward the requirements to improve national conformity assessment system and to strengthen certification, accreditation and other national quality infrastructures, and proposed a series of measures and requirements regarding quality certification.

  In order to further promote the “supply-side structural reform” and the “decentralization, integration of management, optimization of service” reform, to fully carry out the strategy of building a quality power, and to implement the “Guidelines on Quality Improvement Actions”, on September 6, 2017, Premier Li Keqiang chaired the 185th State Council Executive Meeting, which discussed the measures to strengthen the construction of quality certification system and decided that a policy document should be issued by the State Council. In January 2018, the State Council issued “Opinions of the State Council on Strengthening the Construction of Quality Certification System and Promoting Total Quality Management” ([2018]3), specifying the goals, tasks, and supportive measures to strengthen the construction of quality certification system.

  The issuance of the “Opinions” fully reflects the great importance that the CPC Central Committee and the State Council have attached to certification and accreditation. It provides important institutional guarantee and policy support for comprehensively strengthening the construction of quality certification system, pushing the great transitions from “Made in China” to “Made by China”, from the Chinese speed to the Chinese quality, from a manufacturer of large scale to a manufacturer of high quality, and serving high quality development of economy and society.  

  2.What is the overall requirement for the construction of quality certification system?

  The “Opinions” requires that, following the strategy of quality power and the arrangement of quality promotion actions, we should build a quality certification system featured with unified management and joint implementation, authority and public credibility, and mutual recognition, applying international advanced quality management standards and methods; we should promote development and reform and innovation in this sector; we should strengthen total quality management, improve the quality of products, projects and services comprehensively, and enhance China’s economic quality advantage significantly, and push economic development into the era of quality. We should stick to the principles of unified management and design from the top level, market as the leading force and government as a supporting guide, deepening reform and innovating on development, co-existence of incentives and restraints, and multi-stakeholer governance.

  Through 3-5 years of efforts, we expect that the quality certification system tends to be complete, the legislative system, the standard system, the structural system, the supervision system, the public service system, and the international cooperation and mutual recognition system tend to be complete, and the quality management capability of various businesses, the small and medium enterprises in particular, gets enhanced significantly, the quality level of products, projects and services, customer goods and agricultural products in particular, grows remarkably and that high-qulity brands with international competitiveness are fostered.  

  3. What are the main measures for strengthening the construction of quality certification system? 

  The Opinions puts forward six key measures.

  Firstly, widely applying advanced standards and methods of quality management.

  Innovation should be emphasized to combine the general requirements of quality management and the special requirement of industry and to produce new tools of quality management that suit the needs of new businesses.

  Advanced standards and methods of should be applied widely. Enterprises should be encouraged to use quality certification in strengthening quality management, among which state owned enterprises, especially central enterprises, should play the role of the major force.

  Quality governance mode should be changed. Efforts should be made to encourage government at all levels to establish and promote quality management system, and to employ advanced quality management methods to enhance administrative efficiency and credibility of the government.  

  Secondly, carrying out quality management updating actions broadly. 

  The quality management system certification should be updated to a new level. International advanced standard such as the new ISO 9001 should be used to enhance certification requirements. Certification schemes specific to certain industries, certification with classification, management system integration, and value-added quality diagnosis service should be developed.  Quality management should be extended to the whole supply chain, the whole industry chain, and the whole life cycle of products, leading towards comprehensive quality management upgrading of enterprises. 

  The coverage of quality certification should be expanded. The incentive mechanism should be improved, which includes supporting various departments and regions to establish quality certification demonstration areas (points), and guiding all kinds of enterprises, especially enterprises from the midwest, service enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises to get certification.

  Thirdly, deepening the reform and innovation of quality certification system.

  The compulsory certification system should be improved. Efforts should be made to play the role of compulsory certification to safeguard “the bottom line” and to enforce compulsory certification in accordance with laws and regulations for products related to safety, health and environmental protection under the principles of necessity and minimization.

  The voluntary certification system should be innovated on. The role of voluntary certification should be brought into full play to “pull up the high line”. Certification of high-end quality products, the project of “products for the international and the domestic markets sharing the same product line, the same standards and the same quality” should be greatly promoted. Certification methods should be employed in regional brand building.

  Administrative licensing and sectoral evaluation system of the certification, inspection and testing industry should be cleaned up. Efforts should be made to clean up, integrate and normalize existing licensing and evaluation issues, and to cancel unreasonable charges. 

  The procedures of certification body approval, mandatory quality approval of testing and inspection bodies should be simplified and normalized. The certification approval procedure should be improved, the testing and inspection bodies qualification approval programs should be integrated, the items of technical review should be streamlined and integrated, and the whole process of application, approval and issuing certificates should be implemented online.

  Fourthly, strengthening interim and post certification supervision. 

  Measures should be taken to foster certification supervision system, including promotion of capacity building, joint surveillance activities among ministries, reinforcement of accreditation as a constraint mechanism, self-discipline of the sector and social supervision. 

  Innovation should be pursued on certification supervision as well as incentive and constraint mechanisms. Big data technology and information sharing platform should be fully used, traceability through the whole process of quality certification should be established, and recognition of certification at by governments, industries, and society should be increased. 

  Certification surveillance should be intensified through joint surveillance actions upon inspection, testing and certification bodies, and certified enterprises and products, cracking down illegal acts such as unlawful inspection, testing and certification, forgery,  infringement and transaction of certificates or certification marks. 

  Measures should be implemented to make sure that entities and personnel in this sector take their responsibilities. The whole process accountability mechanism of inspection, testing and certification professionals should be improved, public commitment and information exposure system should be set up in entities, and punishing system should be adjusted to allow permanent ban on those entities and personnel that have lost their credits.

  Fifthly, cultivating inspection, testing and certification as a service sector. 

  A better environment for the development of this sector should be set up by formulating policies to promote the development of inspection, testing and certification, and encouraging the formation of inspection, testing and certification alliances integrating production, education, research and application. Reform and development of the entities in the sector should be promoted; emergence of inspection, testing and certification bodies should be accelerated; inspection, testing and certification bodies should be completely decoupled from government agencies and transformed into enterprises. The market-oriented operation mechanism should be improved and supportive policies should be made.

  Service capabilities of this sector should be enhanced comprehensively. Priorities should be given to service capabilities in the areas of food, agriculture and forestry products, bio-pharmaceuticals, information security, intelligent manufacturing, new energy and carbon trading, resulting in a new industry convergence mode with inspection, testing and certification as its “connector”. Application of inspection, testing and certification in integrated development of military and civilian industries should be addressed, such as proficiency test programs for common use in military and civilian areas.

  Sixthly, deepening international cooperation and mutual recognition of quality certification. 

  The certification and accreditation international cooperation system should be established. Cooperation between governments and entities of various levels should be strengthened, policy communication, standards harmonization, system reconciliation, technical cooperation and personnel exchange in the area of conformity assessment should be promoted, and the mutual recognition process in new areas such as renewable resources, green and low-carbon economy, cross-border e-commerce should be speeded up. The openness of the domestic inspection, testing and certification market should be enhanced to actively bring in advanced foreign certification standards, technologies and services, and inspection, testing and certification services lacked and urgently needed in the domestic market. 

  The “Go Out” pace of domestic inspection, testing and certification should be fastened. Domestic inspection, testing and certification bodies should be encouraged to expand international businesses, to support investment and financing projects and construction projects overseas, and to assist Chinese enterprises in their “Go Out” efforts and international production capacities cooperation. 

  International influence of China’s certification and accreditation should be enhanced. We should participate in and take the lead of the development of the international standards and rules of certification and accreditation, provide the international community with more Chinese approaches on quality certification, and foster Chinese certification brands with international influence. More internationalized experts should be trained and sent out to relevant international organizations.  

  4. What are the safeguard measures for strengthening the construction of quality certification system?

  The “Opinions” states that we should strengthen organizational leadership and provide supportive polices from four aspects.  

  Firstly, strengthening organizational leadership. 

  Local governments of various levels should incorporate the construction of quality certification system into their economic and social development plans, develop work plans, set supporting policies, and establish and improve consultation and coordination organizations and working mechanisms. All departments should attach great importance to this work, improve the National Inter-Ministerial Meeting Mechanism on Certification and Accreditation, enhance their collaboration, and strengthen policy cohesion, work planning, as well as work coordination. 

  Secondly, strengthening comprehensive supports. 

  The formulation of regulations on inspection and testing administration as well as the amendment of Regulations of the People's Republic of China on Certification and Accreditation should be accelerated to push the process of lawmaking for conformity assessment. Education of quality certification as a discipline and cultivation of professionals should be strengthened, and certification personnel qualification system should be improved. Statistical analysis mechanism of quality certification should be sophisticated, and financial support should be increased to build the public service platforms such as quality certification information sharing. 

  Thirdly, strengthening guidance through publicity. Knowledge of quality certification should be spread and quality-certified products should be promoted to properly guide production and consumption, enhance market confidence, and generate drives for quality enhancement.

  Fourthly, strengthening supervision on implementation. 

  Governments at various levels should integrate quality certification into their government performance assessment and quality work assessment, so as to ensure that all policies and decisions to strengthen the construction of quality certification system and to promote the total quality management are properly implemented.


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