Using GS1 trade item numbers in China

2012-10-31

For a number of years foreign companies manufacturing products in China intended for the Chinese market have not been able to mark their trade items with a GS1 trade item number (GTIN) from a country other than China. They have been required to mark items with a GTIN from GS1 China. GS1’s global organisation and GS1 China have now reached an interim agreement which means that foreign companies can mark trade items manufactured in China and intended for the Chinese market with a GTIN from a country other than China. According to the agreement the GTIN must be registered with GS1 China together with a photograph of the item.

New rules for using GS1 trade item numbers in China

For a number of years foreign companies manufacturing products in China intended for the Chinese market have been confronted with a problem. The companies have not been able to use the GS1 company prefixes which they subscribe to in their home GS1 organisation to mark their items with GTINs. The foreign companies have been forced to also have a GS1 company prefix subscription from GS1 China since the Chinese authorities have the view that this is required for better control of product flow and traceability.

GS1’s global organisation and GS1 China have now reached an interim agreement valid for the next 24 months. The agreement means that items which are manufactured by foreign companies in China and intended for sale wholly or partially in the Chinese market may be identified with a GTIN from a country other than China. According to the agreement the GTIN must be registered with GS1 China together with a photograph of the item.

Within two years, GS1 expects there to be a permanent agreement which allows GTINs to be used in the same manner in China as in other countries.

Consequences for Swedish companies

The new agreement means that a Swedish company can use its existing GTINs to identify and mark items which are manufactured and marketed in China. The company must however register the item with GS1 China. Items intended for other markets than China are not affected by the agreement and can be handled in the same way as previously.

More information

if you have questions about the use of GTINs in China please contact Karolin Harsanji at GS1 Sweden. She can provide comprehensive documentation on how the GTINs should be registered with GS1 China.