Standards for Sustainable Development: Sustainable China Trade Strategy Project

By Lixin Yu, Jason Morrison, Ling Yu, Qiner Jiang on February 16, 2010
This paper considers how China should approach foreign standards for its exports as part of a broader strategy to advance toward a sustainable trade strategy for China. It is part of a larger set of papers devoted to achieving such a strategy, co-authored by IISD, various international experts and Chinese experts. The paper first looks at how standards are affecting current flows of exports from China. A wide variety of government-mandated and private standards govern China's exports, and a significant percentage of that trade is influenced by environmental standards. The paper then explores China's current regime for addressing standards—both the domestic regulatory regime and the regime for foreign standards affecting exporters. The two are related, since a weak domestic regime leads to difficulties in meeting tough foreign standards. The paper briefly considers the literature assessing the economic impacts of strong domestic standards. It then considers the ways in which standards are evolving in key markets for Chinese exports, and it closes with a number of options for Chinese policy-makers.

Report details

SECO, 2010