In a move to further liberalise the market and meet consumer demand, the State Council lowered the most-favoured-nation (MFN) rates on 1,449 imported consumer products as of 1 July 2018. Included in the list are garments, footwear, headgear, cosmetics and home electrical appliances. The average import duty on garments, footwear and headgear has dropped from 15.9% to 7.1%.
China requires all products (both domestic and imported) entering its market to meet certain compulsory national standards. All code names of Chinese compulsory standards are prefixed “GB”. In addition, China also encourages the adoption of voluntary standards, the code names of which all begin with “GB/T”. Industry standards are also divided into compulsory and voluntary. Garment making is a light industry and its corresponding standard codes begin with “FZ” and “FZ/T” respectively.
The revised version of GB 18401-2010 National Textile Products Basic Safety Technical Code has been in effect since 1 August 2011. Under this new mandatory code, the age of an infant/young child is changed from 0-24 months to 0-36 months. The code also stipulates that the standards implemented for a product should be specified on a product tag, and that the type of safety technology used for the product should be described in accordance with the new standard. The new code also has more stringent controls over formaldehyde content, pH value, colourfastness, odour and poisonous and hazardous substances, such as decomposable aromatic amine dyes.
FZ/T 73022-2012 Knitted Thermal Underwear has been in force since 1 June 2013. This new standard applies to the identification of the product quality for knitted thermal underwear. It also specifies the model number, requirements, test methods, rules of determination, product descriptions and packaging of knitted thermal underwear. According to its stipulations, heat retention rate, heat retention rate per unit weight and environmental indices should be specified on the outer packaging of thermal underwear. In particular, heat retention rate should not be less than 30%.
The new version of GB/T 5296.4-2012 Instructions for Use of Products of Consumer Interest - Part 4: Textiles and Apparel has been effective since 1 May 2014. It is a national mandatory standard that replaces GB 5296.4-1998 Instructions for Use of Products of Consumer – Instructions for Use of Textiles and Apparel. This new standard simplifies the contents related to mandatory labelling to keep in line with international requirements. It also specifies inapplicable product scopes, while adding informative documents for the judgment of defects and subdividing the specifications of various products.
GB 31701-2015 Safety Technical Code for Infants and Children Textile Products came into effect on 1 June 2016. A transitional period of two years was set and the new standard came into force across the board on 1 June 2018. This is the first mandatory national standard dealing specifically with textile products for infants and children (children’s wear). It adds a number of safety requirements for infant and child textile products on top of those for textile products in general. Safety technical requirements for infants’ and children’s textile products are divided into Category A, B and C in accordance with the differences in safety requirements, with Category A having the highest requirements, followed by Category B while Category C meets only basic requirements. Infant textiles shall comply with Category A. Textile products with direct skin contact for children shall at least comply with the requirements of Category B. Textile products without direct skin contact for children shall at least comply with requirements of Category C. The standard also requires that the instructions for use of textile products for children’s wear shall indicate the safety category and the words “Products for Infants Use” must be added for infant textile products.
The Standardisation Administration of China introduced a number of national standards in December 2017 to further safeguard the textile and garment industry. Examples include Textiles – Test Methods for Nonwovens (GB/T 24218.16-2017 and GB/T 24218.17-2017), Textiles – Determination of Deodorant Property (GB/T 33610.2-2017), and Textiles – Testing and Evaluation of Sound Absorption Property (GB/T 33620-2017).
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology approved 80 textile industry standards which went into effect on 1 April 2018. These include standards for textiles and raw materials such as Knitted Overcoat (FZ/T 73058-2017) and Knitted Jeanswear (FZ/T 73032-2017). Another 48 textile industry standards, including Windbreaker (FZ/T 81010-2018) and Testing Method of Scorch for Garment Lining (FZ/T 01079-2018), have been implemented since 1 September 2018.
GB/T 32151.12-2018 Requirements of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accounting and Reporting Part 12: Textile and Garment Enterprise was implemented on 1 April 2019. The standards regulate the accounting boundaries (including fuel combustion and wastewater treatment in the main, auxiliary and subsidiary production systems) and the accounting procedures and methods for greenhouse gas emissions of textile and garment enterprises.
GB/T 37026-2018 Rules on Coding of Clothing Products and RFID Tagging came into force on 1 July 2019, under which the codes for the materials, colours and styles of clothing products are standardised. Requirements are also imposed on markings in the processes of production, logistics, sales and applications of clothing products, coding for automatic identification and data capture, structure for storing RFID tagging data, and technical requirements and testing methods for RFID tagging.
The Standardisation Administration of China will implement 13 national standards for the textile industry on 1 January 2020, including Rules on Inspection of Work Wear (GB/T 22701-2019), Qipao (GB/T 22703-2019) and Knitted Sportswear (GB/T 22853-2019).