Firms importing vaping products from China should check that their suppliers have the appropriate licence to meet the requirements of new legislation that has now come into effect. That’s the advice given by one of China’s e-cigarette industry associations, which believes the new rules are good news for the e-cig industry in China and beyond.
Now it’s about doing more than just ensuring a good product – it must also comply with new Chinese licensing restrictions, according to Jason Tian, diplomatic assistant of the Electronic Cigarette Professional Committee of China Electronics Chamber of Commerce (ECCC). “It’s about ensuring both the quality of the product and its compliance with the new law,” Tian told ECigintelligence.
He was referring to the Administrative Measures for Electronic Cigarettes (AMEC) issued by the Chinese state monopoly China Tobacco, which came into force in May, as well as a new licensing standard that came into force on 1st October.
The regulations mainly control the manufacture, transfer, import, wholesale and retail of tobacco products but they also incorporate tobacco-alternative products into the scope of the wider tobacco regulations.
This means that companies engaged in the production of vaping or heated tobacco devices must obtain a production licence issued by China Tobacco. This covers production both for export and domestic non-retail purposes (business-to-business). There are three categories of licence: for nicotine, e-liquids and devices.
Assurance of quality
“The licence provides assurance for both importers and exporters,” said Tian. “The manufacturers benefit from showing evidence that their factories and processes are compliant and ISO certified, while importers can now be assured that they are getting legitimate products with assured quality.”
In addition to spreading the message of the ECCC, Tian is also director of development at 2Firsts, a research partner of China Tobacco. The company has republished the online database of firms that have been awarded licences in China; the list is available from China Tobacco, but in a less accessible way. The project was funded by 2Firsts and the ECCC.
All parts of the core supply line inside China are covered under the regulations and standard. Businesses affected include nicotine and e-liquid manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), brands, production companies with both independent trademarks and factories, wholesalers and retailers.
Tian believes the AMEC will be highly beneficial to the industry in China because it will raise overall standards and improve the country’s reputation by keeping unscrupulous players out of the market.
“With the advent of legalised supervision of the e-cigarette industry, the development of compliant enterprises is core to competitiveness in the future,” he said. “It helps to establish a positive image of China’s e-cigarette industry and promote the healthy development of the global e-cigarette industry.”
Tian believes sustainability and environmental standards will also be of increasing interest and importance to Chinese vaping companies in the future.
“Now companies can invest in the area of sustainability,” he said. “Sustainability is a big part of the regulation as a whole and it is a big part of the industry that needs attention.”
He also looks forward to seeing technological growth and predicts “a big technological change in the e-cig industry over the next few years”.
- Jason Tian delivered a keynote address titled “E-cigarette regulation in China and its impact on the e-cigarette trade” at the InterTabac trade fair for tobacco products and smoking accessories in Germany last month.
– Lorraine Mullaney ECigIntelligence staff