China Energy Label: Licensing Requirements for Foreign Importers

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SHANGHAI – In recent years, energy efficiency has become a greater focus of Chinese product regulations. The China Energy Label (CEL) is a system of compulsory certification for specified electronic devices, and is equivalent to the EU Energy Label. Introduced in 2005 under the Measures for the Administration of Energy Efficiency Labels, CEL places products in one of five classes of energy efficiency (one being the most energy efficient and five being the worst) and provides additional information on its energy consumption. The impetus behind adopting CEL was to promote consumer purchasing of energy efficient products in China in the wake of concern over rising pollution levels.

CEL applies to 25+ types of domestic and imported products, and must be obtained prior to the sale, trade, or commercial use of these products in China. Relevant product types include air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, gas kettles, photocopiers, air compressors, and flat-screen televisions. The catalog of products subject to CEL is available on CEL’s official website (in Chinese).

Producers or importers should, within 30 days of obtaining the CEL, file a record with the authorized agencies via mail, e-mail or other means. This should include the product energy efficiency testing report. Manufacturers and importers of products in the CEL catalog can conduct tests themselves if they have the capability to do so, or authorize an accredited testing organization to determine the energy efficiency grade of their products according to the GB standards for energy efficiency.

The CEL label should be placed in a prominent location on the product itself or the closest layer of packaging to the product. A CEL label contains the following information:

  1. Name or abbreviation of the producer;
  2. Product specifications and model;
  3. Energy efficiency grade;
  4. Energy consumption; and
  5. Applicable GB standards for energy efficiency.

This article is an excerpt from the May 2014 edition of China Briefing Magazine, titled “Industry Specific Licenses and Certifications in China.” In this issue of China Briefing, we provide an overview of the licensing schemes for industrial products; food production, distribution and catering services; and advertising. We also introduce two important types of certification in China: the CCC and the China Energy Label (CEL). This issue will provide you with an understanding of the requirements for selling your products or services in China.

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