22 Feb 2019 China legal update: SAMR Invites Opinions on Licensing Rules for Special Equipment Manufacturers
I. Legal News
SAMR Invites Opinions on Licensing Rules for Special Equipment Manufacturers
The State Administration for Market Regulation (“SAMR”) has recently issued the Licensing Rules for Special Equipment Manufacturers (Draft for Comment) (the “Draft for Comment”) for public consultation by March 3, 2019.
Special equipment, according to PRC Special Equipment Safety Law, refers to boilers, pressure vessels (including gas cylinders), pressure pipelines, elevators, cranes, passenger cableways, large entertainment facilities and in-plant (in-factory) special motor vehicles that involve great danger to the personal and property safety and other special equipment applicable to the Law in accordance with laws and administrative regulations. The Draft for Comment clarifies that there are two types of Licenses for Special Equipment, one is PRC License for Special Equipment Manufacturers and the other one is PRC License for Entities Filling Mobile Pressure Vessels (Gas Cylinders). The two types of Licenses for Special Equipment shall be valid for five years. In addition, the governmental authorities in charge of granting licenses for special equipment include the SAMR and the departments of provincial-level governments that are responsible for the supervision of special equipment safety. The entities applying the Licenses for Special Equipment shall meet various licensing conditions, satisfying the standards on professional personnel, working place, facilities and intellectual properties.
It should be noted that application that is still under investigation due to its illegal actions on special equipment or facing suspected special equipment accident liability shall not be accepted by the licensing authorities, stipulated by the Draft for Comment.
State Council Unveils Implementing Plan for the National Vocational Education Reform
The State Council has recently released the Implementing Plan for the National Vocational Education Reform (the “Plan”) which aims to reform Chinese education system and job market, addressing the problem that China’s vocational education has long failed to meet the demands arising from the economic and social development as well as changing the current situation where there is an overabundance of college graduates but a great shortage of skilled workers in China, so as to facilitate cultivation of skilled workers and to promote employment and entrepreneurship. The vocational education and training systems will be reformed in accordance with market demands, setting standards regarding teaching, teaching materials, teachers, in order to cultivate students into skilled laborers with the spirit of “craftsmanship” according to the Plan.
There has always been a stigma in China that the diplomas from the vocational education systems are less valuable compared to those bachelor’s degrees, thus parents in China are reluctant to send children to such colleges. For the purpose of changing the public impression about vocational education, the Plan will gradually transform a slew of academic universities by 2022 into vocational education schools, and under the new “one plus X” certificate system, alongside a bachelor’s degree, students will also be awarded a number of occupational certificates that indicate the levels of their vocational skills. In addition, the Plan requires that 50 high-level vocational schools also be in place by 2020, with 150 leading majors that cover a wide range of industries. The enterprises are also welcomed to run vocational schools and offer high-quality programs, and we expect that relevant market access rules on operating vocational schools will be reformed accordingly in the future.
Hopefully, the ratio of demand and supply for skilled workers will get balanced after the implementation of the Plan.
SAMR Advocates Third-party Assessment in Fair Competition Examination
The State Administration for Market Regulation (“SAMR”) has recently issued the Implementing Guide to Third-party Assessment in the Fair Competition Examination (the “Guide”) which has taken effect immediately from the date of issuance and will remain valid for three years.
According to PRC Anti-Monopoly Law, administrative authorities shall not abuse their administrative power to eliminate or restrict competition, and a fair competition examination system shall be established. Specifically, policymaking authorities need to conduct reviews to ensure fair competition while designing policies relating to business activities of market players, such as the market entry, industry development, tendering and bidding, government procurement, etc.
The Guide makes clear the definition of “third-party assessment agency” that it refers to a disinterested agency with relevant professional qualifications, including universities, research institutions, specialized consulting companies, etc. The Guide stipulates that third-party assessment agencies can be introduced when relevant policy-making authority is doing fair competition examination. In addition, according to the Guide, when involved with reviewing proposed policy, the third-party agencies are encouraged to play its role in the examination work. Furthermore, the Guide marks the difference on specific requirement for assessment emphasis in respect of different reviewed materials.
The Guide stresses that, assessment results will be taken into account by policy-making organs as an important basis for carrying out the fair competition examination, evaluating effects of the implemented systems and preparing plans for work progress. Also, policy-making organs are encouraged to share in a proper way the assessment results they get.
China Strengthens Map Printing Rules, Forbidding Publications Printed for Overseas Clients from Being Circulated within China
Recently, many commodities containing maps are blocked at Chinese Customs and the reason is that the Customs found that many maps have serious problems such as misprinting China’s national borders and/or missing China’s islands in the map. It is also found that many entities, running the business of import and export of maps, fail to fulfil the legal procedures for map review. To protect China’s sovereignty and territory benefit and to strengthen the import and export of Chinese maps, a Notice was jointly issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources, National Press and Publication Administration, General Administration of Customs and the Office of the National Work Group for “Combating Pornography and Illegal Publications on February 14, 2018.
According to Global Times, maps are the main form of representing national territory, which is serious for its political, scientific and legal significance. Problematic maps, if they appear in imported and exported products, will confuse the international community about China’s territory and the government’s position, or even be hyped by those with ulterior motives, seriously damaging national interests and the government’s image.1
It is stated by the Notice that publishing houses who want to print overseas publications containing maps should acquire legal qualifications to print first and then registered at the provincial-level press and publication administrations. Printing of other products entrusted by overseas clients that contain maps should be registered with local press and publication administrations. The Notice strictly rules that publications that do not comply with China’s regulations on maps are prohibited from printing, importing or exporting.
It can be predicted that the Customs will strict its inspection on the import and export of products containing maps. Relevant publishing house should be reminded to acquire requested approval/license to guarantee the legality of its printing activities. To prevent potential political risk or legal punishment, foreign enterprises or individuals shall pay more attention on their products containing maps (for example, magazines, clothes, bags or home decoration) when entering into or leaving China.
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