China RoHS Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
- The scope is different from EU RoHS - The scope was developed entirely independently of EU RoHS and has little to do with it. There is substantial overlap but many product types that are not within the scope of EU RoHS are within the scope of China RoHS. Included are automotive electronics, radar equipment, medical devices, semiconductor and other manufacturing equipment, components, some raw materials, etc. as well as packaging materials. Likewise certain categories of EU RoHS are not within the scope of China RoHS like toys and home appliances (but be careful; certain components of these products are within scope!). We recommend that you carefully examine the scope document.
- The in-force date is different from EU RoHS - The first in-force date for China RoHS is March 1, 2007.
- The requirements are different from EU RoHS - The initial requirement, for the above in-force date, is for a mark and disclosure of any of the six identified hazardous substances and their locations within the product.
Material restrictions do not go in to effect on March 1, 2007. The in-force date and the extent of material restrictions will be defined in the "catalog", as will the scope of products affected by the restriction. Read article 18 in the law itself.
- There are no exemptions - Yet. Product that are subject to material restrictions will be defined in the "catalog". The catalog will also describe the substances that are subject to restriction in the products and it is here that "exemptions" are expected to be defined. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) seems to want to avoid any sort of exemptions; this will limit what can potentially be in the catalog. Stay tuned.
- Labels, marks, and disclosure are required - There are four marks required:
These requirements are described in detail in many of the documents available thorugh this site.
- A label defines whether or not the products contain any of the six hazardous substances. If they are present, the "Environment-Friendly Use Period" (EFUP) must also be determined and indicated.
- A table, in the product documentation, must disclose which hazardous substances are contained in the product and the component(s) they are present in. If you have acquired vague certificates of compliance with EU RoHS or email assurances that the parts you are using are compliant with EU RoHS you do not have the information necessary to correctly define this table. Mike Kirschner can help you understand and obtain the right information from your supply chain.
- Packaging material must be disclosed on the outside packaging.
- The Date of Manufacture must be marked on the product if the EFUP label is required.
- The concept of "Put on the market" is different from EU RoHS Beginning March 1, 2007, products coming off the manufacturing line must comply.
- The penalties are different from EU RoHS - Everyone in the supply chain has responsibilities and is subject to penalties. Government officials also must behave...
- The responsibilities dictated by the law are different from EU RoHS - This is not the same approach to "self-declaration" as in the EU; explicit and detailed marking and material disclosure is required. Certificates of Compliance that are specific to EU RoHS from your suppliers may not be adequate.
- Material testing down to the homogeneous materials in every single part you use to build your product may be required - for products covered in the catalog (which is not out yet). The definition of "homogeneous" is not 100% consistent with the EU definition (in fact it's incrementally more sensible). And testing will be accepted only if performed by certified Chinese labs...
- Compliance is required now - Marking and material disclosure must be in place on products rolling off your production lines by March 1, 2007.
- You will have to design labels and issue change orders in order to comply - and if you have not begun obtaining material disclosures (or very detailed declarations!) on the parts you use in your products you had better start doing it.
- All of the standards that you have to comply with are now available - The final EFUP guidance document is now avaliable in English.
- How will it be enforced? China doesn't have a great track record for enforcement of otherwise strong laws regarding intellectual property and anti-counterfeiting. How much of an indicator that is for this law is unclear. Despite that, we do know they are serious about this and other environmental laws so we do not recommend a strategy of assuming they will not enforce it, particularly for non-Chinese entities.
- How will you comply? - Contact Mike Kirschner for assistance.
Updated September 30, 2012
Copyright © 2012 Michael Kirschner. All Rights Reserved.