On June 7, 2008, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) promulgated the amended Measures for the Administration of Export Licenses for Goods (the Measures), which went into effect on July 1, 2008. The 2008 Measures repealed their predecessors promulgated in 2004. The Measures amended six out 47 provisions of their 2004 predecessors, removing a blanket quota restriction on foreign-invested enterprises’ (FIEs) exports of goods subject to export licenses, as well as changing certain deadlines and expiration dates.

The Measures provide a uniform system of license administration on the goods restricted for export. MOFCOM oversees the license administration, and annually issues the Catalogue for Goods Subject to the Export License Administration (Catalogue for Goods) in coordination with the General Customs of Customs. MOFCOM also issues the annual Catalogue for Graded License Issuance of Goods Subject to the Export License Administration (Catalogue for Graded License Issuance). MOFCOM authorizes the Bureau of Quota Licenses to oversee license issuing agencies nationwide on their issuance of the licenses. 

The Measures specify what documents an export license applicant must submit to the issuing agency. They also provide the rules with which each license issuing agency must comply. The Measures stipulate the basis for the issuance of export licenses for different types of goods, such as goods subject to a quota system, precursor chemicals, computers, controlled chemicals, and ozone-depleting substances. When a foreign-invested enterprise intends to export goods subject to export quotas, the licensing agency will adhere to the export quotas for FIEs that are issued by MOFCOM.

The Measures also provide for the handling of special goods, such as overloaded goods, goods for foreign aid projects, sample goods, and sample goods for cultural and technology exchanges. In addition, according to the Measures, certain rules apply to the goods entering bonded areas and export processing zones.

Under the Measures’ 2004 predecessors, exported goods from a foreign-invested enterprise that require export licenses must adhere to applicable quotas prescribed by MOFCOM. In contrast, the Measures provide that only when the goods are subject to an export quota does the licensing agency need to follow the quota when issuing the related export license. Also, the Measures remove the requirement that an FIE must obtain MOFCOM’s approval upon the initiation of a project when such project involves goods subject to export licenses.

According to the Measures, the competent authorities will start issuing export licenses for the following year on December 16 of each year, as opposed to December 10 in the 2004 Measures. In addition, the effective period of export license will be no longer than six months and the expiration date must be on or before December 31 of the current year, rather than the end of February of the next year, which was stipulated in the 2004 Measures.

Under the Measures, the expiration date of licenses for goods subject to quotas that are exported by way of processing trade is determined based on the time limit specified in the Approval Certificate for Processing Trade Business (the Approval Certificate). However, this limit may not exceed December 31 of the current year of issuance. If the Approval Certificate lists a time limit for export that exceeds December 31, the business operator must apply for a new export license for the next year within the effective period of the original export license. The licensing agency will issue a new license for the next year within the time limit prescribed in the Approval Certificate.

As for the extension of the export license using the export quotas of a certain year, the Measures provide that the extension period may not exceed December 31 of that year. This contrasts with the provision in the 2004 Measures setting the deadline as February of the following year.