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China's Foreign Trade Law Revised for WTO Era

The revised Law encourages increased foreign trade and cross-border services and cooperation by simplifying the approval requirements to trading rights, but impose new intellectual property licensing barriers.

Issue: May 2004

Keywords (click to search): China’s foreign trade Chinese international trade World Trade Organization Chinese WTO accession Chinese WTO membership PRC participation in WTO entering PRC market Chinese trade market penetration PRC foreign trade policy

By Neal Stender, Matthew McConkey & Bi Xing, Coudert Brothers, Hong Kong, Beijing & Shanghai

New revisions to the PRC Foreign Trade Law (中华人民共和国对外贸易法)(the Law) will take effect on July 1 2004. The Law governs all cross-border transactions involving goods, technology or services, deregulates access to foreign trading rights, and addresses the roles of governmental authorities, foreign and domestic companies, state-operated trading entities, and trade associations.

The new revisions, the first since 1994, will bring Chinese law into closer conformity with the PRC's WTO obligations. Certain gaps may remain, depending on the Law's interaction with other laws and regulations, and with new detailed rules that are expected. Much will depend on the Law's interpretation and implementation by governmental authorities.

The Law includes a number of differences from a draft recently circulated to foreign organizations for comment. This process constituted a major increase in transparency and sensitivity to foreign concerns, although not all...


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