The inventory of legal countermeasures against China's textile green trade barriers

In recent years, with the acceleration of the process of economic globalization and the rapid development of international trade, the trade competition between countries has reached a level of enthusiasm. Technical barriers to trade, especially green trade barriers, are increasingly becoming the main barriers and obstacles to the development of international trade. The so-called green trade barriers refer to importing countries' restrictions on access to foreign goods through the formulation of various environmental protection (technical) regulations, standards, and conformity assessment procedures for the purpose of protecting the ecological environment, natural resources, and human health. Due to the differences in technology, environmental protection level and economic development level, for developing countries, the green trade barriers set by developed countries are a barrier to trade that is not easily overcome. Therefore, in essence, green trade barriers are developed countries that use technological advantages to restrict trade protection measures from developing country commodities. However, we must clearly realize that since green trade barriers are trade measures that conform to the principles of international law and WTO rules, developing countries should take the initiative to meet the challenges, study relevant rules, and strive to cross green trade barriers.

At present, the green trade barriers faced by textiles mainly include ecological textile standards (including the international eco-textile standard - Oeko-texstandard100), green signs, and green technical regulations.

As eco-textiles represent a new trend in global consumption and production, Oeko-Tex Standard l00 has become the green pass for the production and distribution of ecological textiles around the world. Therefore, in such a context, it is extremely significant to explore such a new type of “green trade barrier” that spans the standards of ecological textiles.

Oeko-TexStandardl00 was developed and revised by Oeko-Tex. Since its inception in 1992, the standard has been revised every year. It has become the most influential and most authoritative eco-textile technology standard in the world.

Oeko-Tex Standardl00 emphasizes the ecological safety of the product itself with the aim of limiting the harmful chemicals in the final textile products. The standards of hazardous substances involved in the standard or project assessment are mainly: pH, formaldehyde, sensitizing dyes, carcinogenic dyes, heavy metals, pesticides, phthalates, color fastness, volatility, odor testing. Textiles, if tested, comply with the conditions specified in the standard, and manufacturers may obtain authorization to hang the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 registration label on the product. The certificate is valid for one year and can be renewed after expiration. The advantages of Oeko-TexStandardl00 are mainly reflected in its application of the principle of open and voluntary application, which is in line with WTO's non-discriminatory, transparent and open trade principles.

Oeko-TexStandardl00 is a double-edged sword. Its implementation is conducive to the promotion of countries’ improvement of technological standards and product quality inspections, the promotion of orderly and sustainable development of international trade, the health of humans and the safety of the environment; but it can also easily become a barrier to trade in developing countries, leading to its The cost of textiles has increased and the market competitiveness has declined.

At present, China's textile standards are mainly: GB18401-2010 "National Basic Safety Technical Specification for Textile Products", GB/T18885-2009 "Eco-textile Technical Requirements", HJDZ30-2000 "Eco-textiles", etc., mainly in terms of certification and assessment. CQC eco-textile product certification and eco-textile product safety certification mark. These textile standards and certifications are extremely important for regulating and guiding the production and trade of Chinese textiles and protecting people's health and ecological environment. However, it should also be noted that China's textile green standard system still lags behind the requirements of international trade, mainly reflected in: (1) the formulation of standards does not consider the performance of textiles and the actual needs in applications; (2) the review of standards, (3) The overall level of eco-textile standards is not high, and there are few standards for safety and environmental protection; (4) The legal status and efficiency of eco-textiles standards are uncertain, and transparency is not high; (5) The adoption of international standards is not enough; (6) The harmonization of eco-textile standards is not uniform and needs to be cleared up.

Technical standards are the prerequisite for ensuring product quality. Under the existing legal framework, the improvement of China's eco-textile technology standards system will have an important significance for increasing the level of China's textile ecological quality and enhancing its competitiveness in the international market, and for breaking foreign technology trade barriers. We believe that in accordance with the WTO/TBT Agreement, we will improve the ecological textile technical standards and regulations from the following aspects in order to establish China's own textile ecological protection mechanism and textile green trade protection system: First, to clean up existing textile standards and regulations, with reference to Oeko - The revised annual version of TexStandardl00 is used as a benchmark to formulate or revise China's eco-textiles mandatory standards; second is to improve the formulation and revision of textile technical standards to bring them into line with the international standards; third is to strengthen international research institutes related to ecological detection Exchanges, achieve mutual recognition, formulate our country's unified, standardized, and internationally-accepted inspection methods and standards, and classify them as mandatory inspections; Fourth, actively participate in international standardization activities, so that China's textile and apparel industry from the use of ecological International standards for textiles have gradually become leaders in international standards.

Extraterritorial experience tells us that conducting eco-textile certification is a more effective measure to leapfrog green textile trade barriers. Therefore, we should actively promote the international standards and certification system of ecological textiles in order to promote the improvement of product quality, thus breaking through green trade barriers.

The first is to promote the international mutual recognition of eco-textiles to improve product quality. If a country's certification and accreditation work fails to comply with international rules, its certification results will not be recognized internationally. To this end, it is necessary to strengthen the construction of textile conformity assessment capabilities, carry out international mutual recognition, and enhance the international influence of China's textile conformity assessment agencies.

The second is to reform and improve the ecological textile certification system. In 2009, China introduced the "Regulations on Compulsory Product Certification Management" and imposed a compulsory certification system on textiles that involve people's health and safety, environmental protection, and public safety. However, the voluntary product certification system is missing. Therefore, it is necessary to step up the formulation of the “Regulations on the Administration of Voluntary Product Certification” to specify the basic rules that should be observed in the voluntary certification of textiles, the applicable objects, application conditions, review standards and procedures, management institutions, and dispute resolution of the eco-textile technical standards certification. Legal responsibilities, etc., make provisions; and formulate specific implementation measures to ensure their implementation.

The third is to strengthen the supervision of certification bodies. At present, textile certification agencies have official agencies, foreign certification branches, and private organizations, and their qualifications are uneven. In this regard, it is necessary to formulate and improve certification management rules based on international standards and strengthen supervision.

The fourth is to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with other countries. In the negotiation and revision of international treaties, all attempts to set up green trade barriers to protect trade protectionism will be prevented in order to safeguard national interests.

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