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International Cooperation

EPA Collaboration with China

EPA’s bilateral relationship with China is one of its most significant. EPA partners with China’s national ministries and commissions, provincial and special administrative regions, and other key stakeholders to share expertise and experience to advance environmental protection in support of EPA’s and China's shared environmental priorities.

Cooperative activities enhance capacity to reduce emissions of pollutants, toxics, and greenhouse gases and limit threats to public health caused by pollution. Emphasis is placed on jointly addressing shared current and emerging environmental challenges, such as protecting air, water, soil; addressing climate change; and working together to create a foundation for long-term sustainability. 

EPA and China have collaborated on environmental issues for over three decades. EPA and the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) collaborate to address:

  • air pollution;
  • water pollution;
  • pollution from persistent organic pollutants and other toxics;
  • hazardous and solid waste;
  • prevention and restoration of contaminated sites;
  • emergency preparedness and response;
  • environmental institutions;
  • and environmental law development, implementation, compliance and enforcement.

Initiatives are also in place to collaborate on sustainable movement of goods, management of electronic waste, and management of mercury.

EPA collaborates with China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) on climate change policies; greenhouse gas monitoring, reporting, and verification capacity; and other solutions, such as cookstoves.  EPA collaborates with China’s Ministry of Science and Technology on research to better assess emissions and their impacts, improve mitigation practices and technologies, and enhance sustainability.  Areas of shared research include emissions that impact air and climate, water sustainability, computational toxicology, soil remediation, and toxic air pollutants.

EPA also participates in government-wide initiatives with China, including the U.S.-China Ten Year Framework for Cooperation on Energy and Environment (TYF), the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), and the Climate Change Working Group.

Explore our work with China: 


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Building Strong Institutions and Legal Structures: 

Strong environmental institutions and legal structures are foundational to addressing priority environmental issues. EPA collaborates with China to share expertise and experience in the development of environmental institutions, environmental laws, regulations, compliance, enforcement, and adjudication capacity.  Collaboration addresses environmental topics such as air, water, chemicals, waste, soil, and emergency response.

Collaboration is focused on:

  • development, implementation, compliance, enforcement, and adjudication of environmental laws and regulations to achieve environmental protections;
  • procedures for environmental reviews and enforceable environmental permits;
  • enhanced access to and disclosure of environmental information;
  • regional capacities, such as regional air-quality management mechanisms;
  • market-based instruments; and
  • legal tools for sustainability.

Additional emphasis topics include strengthening penalty provisions; developing a national performance-assessment system and measures for local enforcement; building enterprise compliance programs to complement enforcement; strengthening capacity, training and sustainable delivery for environmental enforcement; emergency preparedness and response; and building legal, regulatory and enforcement capacity to address PM2.5 and volatile-organic-compounds emissions.

Combating Climate Change by Limiting Pollutants: 

Climate change is a shared challenge. EPA supports several international climate partnerships. With China, EPA participates in the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group to the Strategic & Economic Dialogue. China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is the lead agency in China on this group.

EPA provides technical support for China’s development of domestic fuel and freight policies and best practices in greening ports and vessels, supports development of methodologies for collecting and managing greenhouse gas emissions data, provides technical assistance on the design and implementation of multi-pollutant emission control programs that reduce conventional pollutants and greenhouse gases, and is engaging in dialogues on energy efficiency in new and existing buildings.  

Improving Air Quality: 

EPA collaborates with China to share expertise and experience in the monitoring and reduction of air pollutants. This includes promoting the use of integrated air quality and regional multi-pollutant air quality management strategies, and the development of frameworks and technical capacities to adopt effective emissions reduction strategies, such as emissions control and trading mechanisms. 

For example, EPA has collaborated with China's Ministry of Environmental Protection to develop sulfur dioxide emissions cap and trading mechanisms and with MEP and Provinces to promote cleaner fuels and vehicle emissions reductions. 

EPA also collaborated with the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau and Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center to establish the AirNOW international monitoring system, a pilot that is now being considered for expansion to other Provinces.

EPA continues assisting with hosting study tours, training, and cooperation on multi-pollutant and mercury controls, power sector emissions, motor vehicle engine compliance, and fuel standards and on helping China in controlling PM2.5 emissions. EPA helps to conduct Regional Air Quality Monitoring (RAQM) conferences with MEP to address priority air quality issues. EPA is developing a pilot project to build regional air quality planning capacity for air quality managers in Jiangsu Province in collaboration with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

Expanding Access to Clean Water: 

EPA collaboration with MEP on water focuses on sharing expertise and experience in surface and groundwater quality management, safe supply of drinking water including source water protection, and water pollution prevention and control. A clean water action plan has fostered meetings and technical exchanges, including between state governments in the United States and provincial governments in China. This culminated with the formalization of a Sister Lake Partnership between Lake Pepin in Minnesota and Liangzi Lake in Hubei Province to share expertise in watershed protection. Collaboration with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA) and the Department of Commerce, enables sharing of water monitoring, assessment, protection and restoration technologies and services.

Reduce Exposure to Toxic Chemicals: 

EPA collaborates with China to promote the sound management of chemicals and reduce emissions and exposure to toxic chemicals. 

Building on study tours and workshops on chemical review processes and modeling with EPA, China has implemented improved measures for new chemicals management and issued an inventory of existing chemical substances in China. A pilot program is in place for promulgating registration requirements for hazardous chemicals.

Cleaning Up E-waste:

Both China and the United States are engaged in national programs to improve the management of electronic waste, or e-waste.  In 2010 on a mission in China, then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson visited e-waste recycling facilities in Guiyu. Following that visit, Administrator Jackson and China’s then-Minister of Environment Zhou Shengxian agreed to collaborate on the emerging issue of managing e-waste.  This commitment was initiated through an Electronics Stewardship Breakout Session at the Third China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue

EPA, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, and other key stakeholders have collaborated on a number of activities related to e-waste management.  These include stakeholder meetings, an online information platform, and research reports.

The U.S. and China continue to cooperate and exchange information on electronic waste management.

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US EPA has agreements with various Chinese Ministries to collaborate on environmental issues of mutual concern and impact. Each of these Ministries is a key partner to EPA in achieving environmental objectives under EPA’s global environmental priorities. 
Ministry of Environmental Protection 
Ministry of Science and Technology  
Ministry of Water Resources

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Learn More About China

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For additional information about EPA's work with China, contact:
Luis Troche
Greater China Program Manager
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2650R)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460
Joshua Novikoff
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2650R)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460