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China publishes final RoHS2 regulation

Chemical Watch reports that China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has published RoHS2, the final Administrative Measures for the Restriction of the Use of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Products. It will come into force on 1 July 2016.

RoHS2 restricts the following hazardous substances and, newly, their compounds, in electrical and electronic (EE) products and parts The substances have all been restricted for many years under the EU RoHS Directive:

  • cadmium, 0.01%;
  • mercury, 0.1%;
  • lead, 0.1%;
  • hexavalent chromium, 0.1%;
  • polybrominated biphenyls, 0.1%; and
  • polybrominated diphenyl ethers, 0.1%.

Concentration limits for the substances are set by GB/T 26572, the Requirements for concentration limits for certain restricted substances in EE products. This non-mandatory national standard was issued in 2011 and acts as guidance for manufacturers.

A new catalogue of EE products subject to compliance management will be drawn up. Products listed will be subject to mandatory China RoHS2 compliance and the compulsory national conformity assessment (CCC) mark.

The regulation expands the scope of products affected by RoHS, from electronic information products (EIP) to EE products. These are defined as:

  • devices and accessory products with rated working electrical voltages that do not exceed 1,500V direct current or 1,000V alternating current, and function by means of current or electromagnetic fields and generate, transmit and measure such currents and electromagnetic fields.

Release of China RoHS2 expected before end of year

Chemical Watch reports that China RoHS2 could be released by the end of the year, says Tad Ferris of law firm Foley and Lardner.

Speaking today at a conference organised by engineering consultancy Edif ERA in London, he said now is a good time for companies to start assessing in-house knowledge of the regulation and develop a plan.

The Ministry of Industry, Information and Technology (MIIT), the main body developing the standard, has reached its final stage of review. But Mr Ferris reminded delegates that the original proposals for RoHS2 were notified to the World Trade Organization (WTO) five years ago and there have since been four comment periods, with no indication of when the final version would be issued.

The most recent draft, the revised Management Methods for the Restriction of the Use of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Products, was released earlier this year for public consultation (CW 27 May 2015).

One reason for the delay, said Mr Ferris, is that RoHS2 seeks to change the compulsory pre-market certification approach in RoHS1 to a “potentially more flexible" conformity assessment system. This would mean electrical and electronic products that are included in the forthcoming Compliance Management Catalogue must meet the national or industry standards for hazardous substance limits.

The system would be overseen jointly by the Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) and the ministry. The latter would be responsible for drawing up the catalogue, in collaboration with other ministries.

If adopted, the approach would give industry more flexibility to work with regulators, and companies “might qualify for a less burdensome assessment approach”, Mr Ferris said.

But it is proving difficult to harmonise the objectives of the CNCA – which is keen on retaining compulsory certification – with those of the ministry and the other agencies involved, he added.

After its release, authorities are expected to ramp up enforcement and increase compliance inspections. “Companies will be expected, at the very least, to be found to be complying with RoHS1,” he said.

There should be a gap of at least 12 months between release and implementation, subject to further adjustment, he added.

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