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issue: August 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine

Appliance Industry - China Report
China and EU Hold Joint Meeting about WEEE and RoHS

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On June 16-17, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Appliance Recovery Division of the Chinese Household Electrical Appliance Association (CHEAA), the China Household Electric Appliance Research Institute, and Germany Resource Recovery Association united in Beijing for a China-EU Technological Meeting about the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive.

More than 100 people participated in this meeting, including some Chinese government officials, enterprise representatives, and some European trade representatives. The goal of the meeting was to not only build a bridge between China and Europe, but also between governments and enterprises.

The removal of old electrical appliances in China was one of the key topics addressed at the meeting. One of the speakers, Mr. Feng of the China Development and Reform Commission, revealed that the Chinese government is currently preparing policies for retrieving electric apparatus that are at the end of their lives. The policy includes several initiatives, such as setting up a retrieval system. The Chinese government will encourage enterprises to retrieve their own waste products, but at the same time, depend on a market-based operation.

Mr. Feng said that there are five electrical products that will be covered under the policy—televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, air-conditioners, and computers. However, the government is also encouraging enterprises to retrieve other electronic apparatuses, indicating that in a few years, it may expand the products covered under the initiative.
Also revealed at the meeting was that the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry will be developing a “management method of prevention and control of pollution of the electronic information products,” often referred to as the “RoHS of China.” Mr. Huang from the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry said that he hopes the regulation will be complete by the end of this year. However, because China is a WTO member, the regulation will go through a long announcement period, making it difficult to carry out the Chinese government’s original implementation date of July 1, 2006.

Mr. Huang explained that the regulation will restrict the use of six types of harmful substances in electrical products, similar to Europe’s Restrictions on the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive. However, this will most likely not involve white goods such as refrigerators and washing machines. Even so, Mr. Huang said the government will encourage manufacturers of domestic appliances to review the regulation in 2 to 3 years, as they too may be included in the regulation in the future.

During the meeting, enterprise representatives from European countries such as Germany and Norway offered their expertise on recovery. Many Chinese enterprises found this especially useful due to the large amount of Chinese products that are exported to European countries.

There are several Chinese enterprises that have already designed their export products to fulfill the European Union’s WEEE and RoHS directives. Siemens, for example, has implemented a uniform standard all over the world. In China, Siemens is aiming for an 85-percent recovery rate of electrical home appliances—much higher than the requirement for European Union’s directives.

This report is filed by Viloet Han, China correspondent, APPLIANCE magazine.


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