Clause 4 of Article 12 of the PRC Administrative License Law (hereinafter referred to as the "Administrative License Law") provides that administrative license may be established for matters of important equipment, facilities, products and items directly concerning public safety, personal health as well as the safety of life and property, which shall be examined and approved by means of inspection, testing and quarantine according to technical standard and specification. Meanwhile, Article 55 of the Administrative License Law explicitly provides that with respect such matter that complies with relevant technical standard and specification, the administrative authority shall grant the administrative license; while if the administrative authority decides to disapprove the administrative license, it shall provide a written explanation of the technical standard and specification on which the decision is based.
However, what is technical standard and technical specification? What is the legal nature of technical standard and technical specification? What will be the impact on the existing valid administrative license due to the modifications to the technical standards and technical specifications (including creation, modification and abolishment)? Based on the following two cases, this article intends to briefly analyze the impact on administrative license arising from the modifications to the technical standards and technical specifications.
Case A: Company A's Pollutant Emission Permit expires after 2017. The mandatory national standard, i.e. the Air Pollutant Emission Standard for Boilers (GB13271-2001) on which such permit is based was issued at the beginning of 2014, which set forth pollutant emission indicators including names of pollutants, total discharge quantity control indicator, the maximum acceptable emission concentration and etc. On July 1st, 2016, the new mandatory national standard Air Pollutant Emission Standard for Boilers (GB13271-2014) jointly issued by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the PRC General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine ("AQSIQ") came into effect, and the national standard of GB13271-2001 was completely abolished. Meanwhile, Company A's Pollutant Emission Permit was still within its validity period, but some of the pollutant indicators set forth by the permit have exceeded relevant standards of GB13271-2014, i.e. they have failed to satisfy the new mandatory national standard. In that way, what is the impact of the new mandatory national standard GB13271-2014 on the effectiveness of the Pollutant Emission Permit? Since the emission indicators of some pollutants set forth by the Pollutant Emission Permit do not meet the mandatory standard of GB13271-2014, can Company A continue to discharge pollutants based on its Pollutant Emission Permit before the expiry date thereof?
Case B: Company B holds the "Manufacture License of Special Equipment" (hereinafter referred to as the "Manufacture License") for the special purpose motor vehicles in defined sites (hereinafter referred to as the "Site Vehicle"). The Manufacture License was issued based on the Manufacturing Permit Rules for Electromechanical Special Equipment (Trial Implementation) (GuoZhiJianGuoNo.174) and other relevant provisions and technical standards, and it will expire at the end of 2017. On June 1st, 2017, the Safety and Technical Supervision Regulations for Special Purpose Motor Vehicle in Defined Sites (hereinafter referred to as the "TSGN0001-2017") issued by the AQSIQ came into effect. Meanwhile, Company B's Manufacture License was still within its validity period. However, the Site Vehicle manufactured based on the Manufacture License does not comply with the provisions of the TSG N0001-2017, i.e. it fails to satisfy the new safety and technical specification. In that way, what is the impact of the new safety and technical specification, i.e. the TSGN0001-2017, on the effectiveness of such Manufacture License? Since the Site Vehicle manufactured based on the Manufacture License does not meet the new safety and technical specification, is Company B allowed to continue its manufacture based on such Manufacture License?
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