More exacting technical standards has become the need of the hour to rehabilitate the ‘Made in China’ campaign which has off lately been plagued by quality issues, the Chinese cabinet disclosed in a press release.
For decades, inexpensive Made in China products have flooded global markets and brought benefits to people in every corner of the world. But too often, Made in China was directly associated with inferior quality.
The stereotype has become a headache for Chinese companies and the government, both striving to move from low-end growth to a more prestige model.
“In an effort to push the economy to a medium-to-high level, raising product and service standards should be the key,” said a cabinet statement issued after an executive meeting of the State Council that included senior leaders including Premier Li Keqiang.
Thanks to low labor costs, Chinese products used to win their share in the global market mainly by relying on quantity and low prices. However, China has now entered a period of waning labor cost advantages as the economy is stabilizing and modernizing.
To make Chinese products and services more competitive, the country must optimize its standards system and toughen how these standards are enforced, as it is haunted by weak standards management and shoddy goods, the statement said.
The State Council vowed that China will improve laws and regulations on standardization, making standards a guarantee of quality. The government will revise current national, local and industrial standards. In areas such as health, safety and environmental protection, unified mandatory national standards will be introduced. Associations, chambers of commerce and industrial alliances are encouraged to set standards that meet the needs of the market and innovation.
Under the State Council’s proposals, foreign-invested enterprises will also be given more chances to assist China in setting up more exacting domestic standards.
According to the statement, China should strive to make domestic standards acceptable, authoritative and credit-worthy worldwide, providing a ‘passport’ for Chinese products to compete in the global market.
Zhang Xiaogang, president of the International Organization for Standardization, believes that Chinese companies have made their share of contributions to the global economy and that some Chinese brands have penetrated the global market. But their ultimate goal should be participating in the establishment of international industrial standards.
That however, is not going to be easy, since standards in most sectors have already been drafted by Western countries. China may face obstruction if it wants to participate in and even dominate the setting of international standards.
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