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China: Foreign IT Producers Must Disclose Key Software Information

(May 28, 2009) On April 27, 2009, China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), the Ministry of Finance, and the National Certification and Accreditation Administration (which is under the AQSIQ) issued the “Announcement on Adjusting Requirements for Implementation of Mandatory Certification for Information Security Products” (No. 33 of 2009). The regulation, which incorporates the certification rules for 13 information-technology product categories, compels the product manufacturers “to disclose key software information.” More specifically, according to some observers, it would force disclosure of “sensitive proprietary technology information” that includes “source codes for software that control IT products, such as those for operating systems for integrated circuit chips and touchless intelligent [i.e., smart] cards.” (Akihito Teramura, Controversial Chinese IT Rule to Begin Fri., YOMIURI SHINBUN, Apr. 30, 2009, available at Some of the other categories include anti-spam, firewall, data back-up and recovery, and secure router products. (Guanyu tiaozheng xinxi anquan chanpin qiangzhixing renzheng shishi yaoqiu de gonggao (2009 No. 33), China National Certification and Accreditation Administration website, Apr. 27, 2009, available at

The original plan, announced in January 2008, was wider in scope and would have covered all products made and sold in China; the new regulation was limited to covering only Chinese government purchases of the 13 product types after protests were lodged by Japan, the United States, and European countries, which had asked the government to scrap the requirement altogether. Implementation of the regulation was delayed until May 1, 2010, also in response to the protests. The regulation supplements the China Compulsory Certification (“CCC”) mark, the country's regular product safety standard. Reportedly, manufacturers will have to submit applications for their products to the government by the fall, for an inspection process that may require up to seven months. Products that fail to pass inspection will be banned as of May 2010. (Id.)