China RoHS 2 Proposal – May 2015

China RoHS 2 is once again moving forward.  An updated draft regulation titled “Management Methods for the Restriction of the Use of Hazardous Substances in Electric and Electronic Products (Draft for Comments)” was released on May 18 for public comment. It reveals several changes compared to the previous 2013 version.

The draft regulation is applicable to the production, sale, and import of electrical and electronic products. Unlike the original China RoHS, the draft does not provide an exclusion for products that are intended for export (presumably to help ensure that exported products meet the RoHS restrictions imposed by other countries).

Similar to the previous China RoHS 2 draft, the scope of products (compared to the original China RoHS) is expanded to “Electrical and electronic products”, but, this time, with an explicit exclusion for power generation, transmission and distribution equipment. The definition of “Electrical and electronic products” refers to devices and accessory products which function by means of current or electromagnetic fields. The definition utilizes the same voltage limits used by the EU RoHS Directive — rated working electrical voltages of no more than 1500 volts direct current and 1000 volts alternating current.

Hazardous substances are defined as the six original RoHS substances, with a seventh entry for other harmful substances, leaving the door open to restrict additional substances.

The draft regulation maintains the marking and communication obligations of the original China RoHS, including the “environmental protection use period” and the table identifying harmful substances and their location in the product. However, the requirements for the table of harmful substances has been clarified/expanded.

Similar to the original China RoHS, a catalog will list products that are subject to substance restrictions.  The catalog will be developed and maintained by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in consultation with other departments.

A conformity assessment system will be established for ensuring restricted substance conformity of products that are listed in the compliance management catalog. This replaces the CCC certification specified in the original China RoHS.

Requirements on product packaging, which were removed from earlier China RoHS 2 proposals, have now been added back in. The packaging for all manufactured or imported electrical and electronic products must meet all applicable standards and laws. Manufacturers and importers should also adopt the use of materials that are non-hazardous, easily biodegradable and/or facilitate recycling/reuse.

Section III on “Punitive Provisions” identifies requirements that are subject to penalties if not met, including substance restrictions, labelling of the product with the environmental protection use period, names and content of hazardous substances, and packaging conformity. The paragraph on the hazardous substances table is particularly detailed, suggesting that MIIT expects producers and importers to be in full compliance and not take any short-cuts.

The draft is available from the Legislative Affairs Office of the  State Council P.R. China (in Chinese). The public comment period ends June 17, 2015.

For additional information, contact ECD Compliance. Clients will be receiving additional analysis and discussion of potential impact of the proposal in the next environmental report.