Technical Standards: A New Realm of China’s International Influence?
As its firms become more competitive, China is increasingly well positioned to define the standards that will shape the industries of the future. This shift is not only a consequence of its growing economic importance, but also the result of clear policy orientations. While historically the Chinese party-state has used technical standards to protect domestic markets, official texts increasingly present them as instruments of international influence. China has made concerted efforts to not only boost key technical standards of its own, but has moved to proactively integrate the forums of international standards development while simultaneously forging its own path. Through the intervention of its powerful party-state apparatus, is China changing the terms and nature of this process of industrial innovation traditionally left to the hands of private actors? Can technical standard-setting be a space for constructive negotiation or will it increasingly be a realm of heightened competition and global fragmentation?
The round table will explore the role of technical standardization in China’s national industrial strategy and discuss efforts to deepen international cooperation on standards development at the bilateral and multilateral levels.
Introduction and moderation: John Seaman, Research Fellow, Center for Asian Studies, French Institute of International Relations (Ifri).
Dr. Sarah Eaton is Professor of Transregional China Studies at Humboldt University Berlin. She is interested in the study of contemporary Chinese politics and political economy from comparative and transregional perspectives. Her book, Advance of the State in Contemporary China (Cambridge, 2016) analyzed the ideational roots of Chinese state capitalism and the results of her other research have appeared in political science and area studies journals, including Environmental Politics, Review of International Political Economy, The China Quarterly and the The China Journal. Together with Daniel Fuchs, she has been researching China’s high-tech standardization partnership with Germany.
Dr. Daniel Fuchs is a postdoctoral researcher at Humboldt University Berlin. Among other topics, his research focuses on the political economy of development, industrial relations and social movements and migration in China.
Dr. Juliette Genevaz is research fellow at the European Institute for Chinese Studies (EURICS) and at the French Research Institute on East Asia (IFRAE, Inalco). She earned a PhD (DPhil) in Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford with a thesis on the political role of the Chinese military in the reform era (1987-2010). Then she held a Transatlantic Postdoctoral Fellowship for International Relations and Security (TAPIR) at Ifri (Institut Français des Relations Internationales, Paris) and at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP, Berlin). From 2016 to 2021, she was the China research fellow at the Institute for Strategic Research (IRSEM) in Paris. Her research has appeared in The Journal of Contemporary China and China Information, among other publications.
Dr. Olivier Peyrat is a graduate from Ecole Polytechnique, Head Engineer of the Body of Mining Engineers (Ecole des Mines). He was appointed Director General of AFNOR in June 2003. Currently, he is also administrator of CEN at the European level and of ISO at the international level. He served as Vice-President (Finance) of ISO in 2013/2014 and 2015/2016. He belongs to the Board of Directors of Groupe des Industries Métallurgiques (GIM – France). He was also appointed in 2016 as Member of China Standardization Expert Committee. Olivier PEYRAT has moreover chaired several standardization commissions or groups at national, European and international level, such as on the ISO Conformity Assessment Committee (2007-2011).
Dr. Tim Rühlig is a Research Fellow at The Swedish Institute of International Affairs where he works on EU-China relations as well as Chinese foreign and industrial policy. He is a member of the China Task Force of the European standardisation organisations CEN and CENELEC and provides expertise on the same subject to several organisations including the European Commission. He has been a visiting researcher to several institutions including the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing. Prior to his current position, he has been a research associate at the Cluster of Excellence “The formation of normative orders” in Frankfurt/Germany. Tim holds a PhD from Frankfurt University, and an M.A. in International Studies/Peace and Conflict Research from the University of Frankfurt and the Technical University of Darmstadt.