Yes, China accepts FAA-PMA parts.
The United States and China signed a Bilateral Airworthiness Agreement (BAA) in 1991. That agreement recognized that each authority (FAA and CAAC) had a system for production and airworthiness approval of civil aeronautical products, and that each system was sufficiently equivalent to the other to permit the authorities to accept certain approval decisions of the other.
The BAA is implemented through a Schedule of Implementation Procedures. This schedule explains how international aerospace transactions will work. It is meant to facilitate certain transactions and relationships.
The schedule covers, inter alia, Chinese acceptance of FAA Export Certificates of Airworthiness appliances, parts, and materials for which the FAA is the exporting authority. The schedule explains that China will accept US export certificates of airworthiness for parts and materials when the FAA certifies that each article:
(a) Conforms to approved design data;
(b) Is properly marked; and
(c) Meets the special requirements of the importing country.
This is typically done through the issue of an FAA 8130-3 tag.
The special import requirements of China must be formally presented to the United States, and then the United States publishes those special import requirements in Advisory Circular (AC) 21-2. The Chinese special import requirements apply to airframes, engines, propellers, and TSOA articles, but the only special import requirement that applies to FAA-PMA parts is that the part must be accompanied by an 8130-3 tag. Since the 8130-3 tag is the medium for communicating the compliance, the 8130-3 for a FAA-PMA part can be safely annotated as meeting the special import requirements of China.
The Chinese have clarified in several places that they really mean it when they say that they are accepting PMA parts.
In order to ensure that there is no confusion, appendix D of the Schedule of Implementation Procedures specifies that the term ‘part’ means replacement and modification parts manufactured under any FAA production approval. The appendix goes on to say that this includes replacement and modification parts manufactured by an FAA-PMA holder!
Some additional provisions are listed in the Schedule of Implementation Procedures , but none of them actually impose any additional obligations on someone who exports a PMA part to China, so long as that part already complies with US regulatory standards.
- Critical components must have a part number and a serial number (this is already required under FAA Part 45 for FAA-PMA parts); and
- All PMA parts must be marked with the part number and the manufacturer’s name or trademark (this is also required of all PMA parts under FAA Part 45 marking requirements).
China has also published their own advisory circular on the acceptance of FAA-PMA parts. The advisory circular clarifies that FAA-PMA parts are acceptable for use on Chinese aircraft and reiterates that the parts should marked according to the requirements of FAA Part 45.