Legal framework

Domestic legislation

What is the main domestic legislation as regards trade remedies?

China introduced trade remedies into its legislative system in 1994, when its first Foreign Trade Law was announced. Along with that, China set out a series of interim regulations on anti-dumping, countervailing and safeguarding, and initiated investigations against imported products. As a commitment to joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), China amended its Foreign Trade Law (effective as of 1 July 2004) and rewrote a dozen regulations on anti-dumping, countervailing and safeguarding before or after its WTO accession at the end of 2001. In April 2018, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) published its newly approved Regulations for Anti-dumping and Countervailing Hearings, Rules for Anti-dumping Questionnaire Response, and Regulations on Interim Review on Anti-dumping and Margins. Most laws and regulations (in Chinese with English translation) are compiled by the government body and are accessible on MOFCOM’s website at

International agreements

In general terms what is your country’s attitude to international trade?

China is a great advocate of free trade, as it has benefited from foreign trade in the last few decades. As the world’s second-largest economy, China has a positive attitude towards international trade. China’s exports are vigorously supported by the government and China has developed a large part of its current manufacturing capability for this purpose.

Despite the Trump administration’s unsupportive attitude towards free trade, China has taken substantial steps to prove that it is a significant supporter of global trade. In June 2018, China lowered its customs duty for certain vehicles and commodities, and it has announced enhanced protection for intellectual property.

As a member of the WTO, China has been in favour of or supporting free trade and views free trade agreements (FTAs) as platforms for further opening up to the outside world and speeding up domestic reforms, as an effective approach to integrate into the global economy and strengthen economic cooperation with other economies, and as a particularly important supplement to the multilateral trading system. At the time of writing, China has 16 FTAs in force, 11 under negotiation and 11 under consideration. A list of all of China’s FTAs can be found at

China has made great efforts to comply with the WTO Agreement and is involved in several WTO trade disputes as a petitioner, defendant and intervening third party. Nevertheless, so far no ruling has been issued by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) against China concerning the implementation of WTO decisions.

Trade defence investigations (outside the WTO dispute settlement system)

Government authorities

Which authority or authorities conduct trade defence investigations and impose trade remedies in your jurisdiction?

MOFCOM is responsible for anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations. In particular, the Trade Remedy and Investigation Bureau (TRB) ( conducts investigations and proposes the final measures to take. For cases concerning agricultural products, the Ministry of Agriculture ( may also be involved. The imposition of remedial duties or any likewise definite measures on imports is determined by the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council upon recommendation by MOFCOM, and enforced by the General Administration of Customs (GAC) (

Complaint filing procedure

What is the procedure for domestic industry to start a trade remedies case in your jurisdiction? Can the regulator start an investigation ex officio?

Trade remedy proceedings are typically initiated based on a petition filed on behalf of the domestic industry. MOFCOM ex officio can also self-initiate an investigation, but this rarely happens.

The law requires that the petition shall be supported by those domestic producers whose collective output constitutes more than 50 per cent of the total production of the like product produced by that portion of the domestic industry expressing either support for or opposition to the application. Moreover, no investigation shall be initiated when the output of those domestic producers expressly supporting the application accounts for less than 25 per cent of total production of the like domestic product.

As required, a petition must include the following information:

  • general information of the petitioner (name, address, etc);
  • information about the product concerned;
  • information about like products in the domestic market;
  • the quantity and value of similar domestic products;
  • how the imported product has affected the quantity and price of domestic products; and
  • evidence of:
    • dumping or subsidies, or both;
    • injury to the domestic industry; and
    • a causal link between the two.

After receiving the petition, MOFCOM shall make a decision on whether the petition has been duly made with sufficient support from the domestic industry within 60 days. Ex officio investigations may be initiated if MOFCOM has sufficient evidence of:

  • dumping or subsidies;
  • injury to the domestic industry; and
  • causation between the two.
Contesting trade remedies

What is the procedure for foreign exporters to defend a trade remedies case in your jurisdiction?

MOFCOM shall publish the decision to initiate an investigation and notify the applicants, any known exporters and importers, the governments of the exporting countries (regions) and other interested organisations and parties (hereinafter collectively referred to as ‘the interested parties’). As soon as the decision to initiate an investigation is published, MOFCOM shall provide the full text of the application to the known exporters and the governments of the exporting countries (regions).

Any interested party, including foreign producers, intending to participate in the investigation must register with the TRB within 20 days after the publication date of the initiation notice through filling in and submitting the registration form as required by TRB. Foreign producers are required to submit the following information:

  • general information about the company (company name, legal domicile, contact number, etc);
  • power of attorney if the producer is being represented by counsel;
  • information on exports of the product concerned; and
  • information on any affiliated company that is involved in the production or sale of the product concerned.

A foreign producer who fails to register within the tight deadline may not be accepted to participate in the investigation and will quite possibly be subject to higher duty than cooperating producers. In the event that MOFCOM limits the number of respondents for individual examination, MOFCOM will select the respondents for individual examination through a sampling method. After the investigation is initiated, anti-dumping or countervailing duty questionnaires, or both, will be issued and any respondents will then have a 37-day deadline to respond, subject to a one to two-week extension upon request. The TRB often issues supplemental questionnaires when necessary. In addition, the TRB will conduct on-site verifications of questionnaire responses, before or after the preliminary determination (if any). Respondents may voluntarily submit additional information to the TRB for clarification, and may request a hearing or attend a hearing if granted.

China does not set a deadline for preliminary determinations. In most cases preliminary determinations are made within six to nine months after the start of the investigation. If the preliminary result is affirmative, MOFCOM will request importers to post a cash deposit for importation of the subject goods to GAC. Final determinations should be made within a year from the publication date of the initiation notice, which is extendable for six months. If the result of an investigation is affirmative, importers of the subject products will have to follow measures specified in the final determination. However, if the final result is negative, the cash deposit shall be refunded.

WTO rules

Are the WTO rules on trade remedies applied in national law?

China became a member of the WTO on 11 December 2001. The WTO Agreements are not Chinese law, under which international treaties do not automatically convert into domestic law. In compliance, China has promulgated and amended various laws and regulations to fulfil its WTO obligations. In instances where the WTO DSB has ruled that Chinese laws or practice have violated WTO provisions, China has been constantly seeking to change Chinese law or agency practice to bring it into conformity. China, as the main target in trade remedies by most trading partners (partially because it is labelled as a non-market economy), does not trade with other countries as non-market economies.


What is the appeal procedure for an unfavourable trade remedies decision? Is appeal available for all decisions? How likely is an appeal to succeed?

During a trade remedy investigation, interested parties may appeal unfavourable trade remedy decisions through administrative review and judicial review.

Administrative review

Interested parties may file for an administrative review against a MOFCOM decision within 60 days of becoming aware of the decision. MOFCOM (the Department of Treaty and Law, rather than the TRB) will review the case, and issue a review decision within 60 days upon acceptance of the review request, which is subject to a 30-day extension. MOFCOM may make a decision to sustain, repeal or amend its determination on the basis of the administrative review. If a party is not satisfied with the result of the review, it can either file judicial review (ie, administrative litigation, described below) or appeal to the State Council for a further review. The results of further review made by the State Council are final, and not subject to judicial review.

Judicial review

A party may choose to file a petition for judicial review with the Beijing Second Intermediate People’s Court against a MOFCOM decision or MOFCOM review decision, each with a different deadline (90 or 15 days respectively), upon receipt of the decision. The court will review and make a decision within a prescribed deadline (within 90 days upon acceptance of the petition by law, but may be subject to extension), which is extendable pending the complexity of the case. If a party is not satisfied with the verdict of the lower court, it may appeal to the appellate court (Beijing Supreme Court) within 15 days. The final decision made by the appellate court (within 60 days upon acceptance of the petition by law, but may be subject to extension) is effectively binding and not subject to appeal.

Review of duties/quotas

How and when can an affected party seek a review of the duty or quota? What is the procedure and time frame for obtaining a refund of overcharged duties? Can interest be claimed?

Like many other countries, China has established several different types of reviews in its trade remedy regime.

Interim review

Foreign producers and exporters or domestic industry and importers may submit a request for interim review within 30 days as of the one-year anniversary of the final determination. The requesting party should provide a supportable explanation of the new circumstances that warrant a recalculation of the anti-dumping or countervailing margin. MOFCOM will review and decide whether to initiate such a review, and revise the margin if so demonstrated.

New shipper review

Foreign producers who are required to pay an anti-dumping duty but who did not export the products to China during the period of investigation (and, as such, could not participate in the investigation) may file for a new shipper review order to calculate their own anti-dumping margin. If the new shipper begins exporting after the period of investigation but before the final determination, it shall file the request within three months of the final determination. If the new shipper begins to export after the final determination, it shall file the request for review within three months of the actual export.

Sunset review

MOFCOM publishes a notice on its website about six months before the ending date of five years after any anti-dumping or countervailing duties are imposed. Upon that, any interested parties may submit comments to MOFCOM, request a hearing and likewise engage in such proceedings. If the dumping or subsidy will recur after revocation of the order, MOFCOM will determine to continue the measure and duties, or other measures will be extended by another five years.

Duty refunds

Regarding refunds of over-collected duties, parties may apply to MOFCOM for refunds. However, such request should be timely. In particular, for imports after the investigation but before the final determination, the request shall be filed within three months after the final determination; and for imports after the final determination, it must be filed within three months of payment.

Compliance strategies

What are the practical strategies for complying with an anti-dumping/countervailing/safeguard duty or quota?

The general strategy for complying with an anti-dumping duty, a countervailing or safeguard duty or quota is to seek review of the existing duty or quota. However, in China, anti-dumping or countervailing duty orders are in fact very unlikely to be amended or cancelled through reviews.

Customs duties

Normal rates and notification requirements

Where are normal customs duty rates for your jurisdiction listed? Is there an exemption for low-value shipments, if so, at what level? Is there a binding tariff information system or similar in place? Are there prior notification requirements for imports?

There is an import and export tariff inquiry system on the GAC official website ( Normal customs duty rates, most-favoured nation (MFN) rates and relevant requirements for imports are listed there.

As for the low-value exemption level, a regulation of 8 April 2016 provides that one cross-border e-commerce retail transaction with a value below 2,000 yuan may be exempted from custom duty, and the annual exempted value for one customer shall be limited to 20,000 yuan. For more details, please refer to

Special rates and preferential treatment

Where are special tariff rates, such as under free trade agreements or preferential tariffs, and countries that are given preference listed?

China’s current implementation of the import tariff rates are MFN rates, the agreement tariff rate, the preferential tariff rate and the general tariff rate. Preferential tariff rates and general tariff legislation are listed within the Customs Tariff. In GAC Announcement No. 65 2017, GAC publishes special tariff rates and lists of countries and regions, which is available at

How can GSP treatment for a product be obtained or removed?

There is no formal GSP in China. However, the Chinese government grants preferential treatment to some least-developed countries that have good diplomatic relations with China. Ninety-five per cent of imported goods are within the scope of the preferential treatment. China imposes zero tariff on 97 per cent of imported goods from the least-developed countries, including Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, the Comorian Union, Mauritania, Togo, Liberia, Niger, Rwanda, Angola, Zambia and Nepal. For a full list of such goods, refer to

Is there a duty suspension regime in place? How can duty suspension be obtained?

According to Chinese law, duty suspension may be granted by GAC to the following merchandise:

  • goods displayed or used in exhibitions, trade fairs, meetings or other similar activities;
  • articles for performances or competitions in cultural or sports exchange activities;
  • devices, equipment or articles used in news reporting, or the shooting of films or television programmes;
  • devices, equipment or articles used in scientific research, education or medical activities;
  • transportation and special types of vehicles used in activities listed above;
  • samples of goods;
  • instruments and tools used in installation, debugging and testing equipment;
  • containers for holding goods; and
  • other goods not used for commercial purposes.

To qualify for duty suspension, goods are required to meet the following criteria:

  • being re-exported within six months of importing into China (or filing an extension at least 30 days prior to the original deadline);
  • a security deposit paid by the importer; and
  • approval by GAC.

Where can customs decisions be challenged in your jurisdiction? What are the procedures?

Customs decisions can be challenged by administrative reconsideration or administrative litigation in China. Interested parties may submit a petition for administrative reconsideration within 60 days of learning that the customs action was taken, file a lawsuit within 15 days of receipt of the written administrative reconsideration decision, or file a complaint within six months from the date that they learned that the customs action was taken. The time periods described in question 7 shall apply.

For more details of GAC administrative reconsideration, refer to

Trade barriers

Government authorities

What government office handles complaints from domestic exporters against foreign trade barriers at the WTO or under other agreements?

Complaints from domestic exporters about foreign trade barriers and other issues concerned are handled by the TRB under MOFCOM. Dispute settlement under the WTO DSB framework or other bilateral or multilateral agreements is handled by the Department of Treaty and Law of MOFCOM (see

Complaint filing procedure

What is the procedure for filing a complaint against a foreign trade barrier?

A complaint against a foreign trade barrier may be filed by an interested party or may be self-initiated by MOFCOM. Petitions on behalf of the domestic industry must be presented to MOFCOM in writing, by natural or legal persons or organisations representing the domestic industry. MOFCOM must decide within 60 days of the date of receipt of a petition whether there are valid grounds to initiate an investigation.

The information to be included in the petition differs according to the trade barrier concerned in each case. Generally, basic information about the petitioner and the domestic industry of the products or services affected and evidence of negative effects are required.

Grounds for investigation

What will the authority consider when deciding whether to begin an investigation?

After receiving a petition and the relevant materials (see question 16), MOFCOM will review all the information contained in the petition through questionnaires and on-site verifications as necessary. If the information and evidence provided by the petition are accurate and sufficient, then MOFCOM will initiate an investigation.

Measures against foreign trade barriers

What measures outside the WTO may the authority unilaterally take against a foreign trade barrier? Are any such measures currently in force?

China only takes measures against a foreign trade barrier within the framework of the WTO or under other bilateral and multilateral agreements, and holds bilateral consultations with the government of the importing country to solve the trade barrier. In April 2018, the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council of China announced the cessation of a tariff concession and imposed a tariff of 15 per cent on 120 items of products including fruits from the US and a tariff of 25 per cent on eight items, including pork, from the US, in response to the new US tariffs on steel and aluminium, as a result of 232 investigations, which took effect on 8 March.

Private-sector support

What support does the government expect from the private sector to bring a WTO case?

The government expects no financial support from the private sector in bringing a WTO case. However, when bringing a case to the WTO, relevant domestic enterprises, industries, organisations or legal persons are expected to cooperate and provide necessary trade data and information in order to support the case.

Notable non-tariff barriers

What notable trade barriers other than retaliatory measures does your country impose on imports?

Import prohibitions, restrictions and non-automatic licensing are maintained in China to safeguard national security, public morality, human, animal and plant health, and the environment and exhaustible natural resources; to comply with China’s obligations under international agreements; and for balance of payments reasons. There is an import licensing regime, under which there are three types of licences:

  • automatic licences, which are in place to monitor trade volumes of imports that are not restricted, for statistical purposes. Goods subject to automatic import licensing are listed in the Catalogue of Goods subject to Automatic Licensing (see;
  • non-automatic licences. Certain products (such as key old mechanical and electrical products and ozonosphere-consuming products) require import licences in China (see; and
  • tariff-rate quota certificates. Only eight types of products are restricted by the tariff-rate quota, which are listed in the Catalogue of Goods subject to Tariff-rate Quota (see

Export controls

General controls

What general controls are imposed on exports?

In July 2017, MOFCOM published the draft of the Export Control Law of People’s Republic of China to collect suggestions from society. There are some trends indicated in this draft: reunification of the previous related export control systems; clarifying the authority of the competent authorities and the authority of law enforcement; and increasing the punishments for violation of the law. However, the final version is still unpublished.

Under the current regime, the Registration Regulation of Foreign Trade Operators, which took effect on 1 July 2014, enterprises that are willing to export shall register themselves with the administrative offices. However, such registration is mainly for statistical purposes, and does not impose limitations or controls on exports.

Meanwhile, pursuant to article 16 of the Foreign Trade Law, the Chinese authorities are allowed to restrict or forbid relevant imports or exports based on the following purposes:

  • state security, social welfare or public morality;
  • protection of human health or security, the life or health of any animal or plant, or the environment;
  • the import or export administration of gold or silver;
  • conserving exhaustible natural resources that are in short supply or subject to effective protection;
  • limited market capacity of the destination country or region;
  • occurrence of severe disorder in export activities; and
  • other circumstances as provided for in those international treaties or agreements to which China has acceded.

Article 17 of the same law authorises the Chinese government to take necessary measures regarding fissile material or any materials used in the production thereof, as well as other military supplies such as weapons and ammunitions. China may take any necessary measures relating to export activities in wartime or for the purpose of maintaining worldwide peace and safety.

Government authorities

Which authorities handle the controls?

Multiple authorities are equipped to exercise export control when necessary.

For restricted goods, MOFCOM, specifically the Bureau of Industry, Security and Export Control (BJSEC), the Quota & Licence Administrative Bureau (QLAB) of MOFCOM, and the National Development and Reform Commission ( are in charge of determining the quantity of export limitation, and GAC shall enforce the restriction on export of these goods.

For forbidden goods, MOFCOM and GAC take charge of surveillance.

Additionally, the State Council ( and the Ministry of National Defence ( oversee the export of military materials; and the China Atomic Energy Authority ( is responsible for the restrictions on nuclear materials and related items.

Special controls

Are separate controls imposed on specific products? Is a licence required to export such products? Give details.

MOFCOM and GAC have recently revised the Managing List of Dual-Use Items and Technologies Importing and Exporting Approval, which came into effect on 1 January 2018.

Other regulations setting controls on specific products are listed as follows:


Issuing body

Products regulated

Licence required?

Nuclear Export Controlling Regulation

State Council

Nuclear material, equipment, items used for nuclear reactors, and relevant technologies


Dual-use Nuclear Product and Relevant Technologies Export Controlling Regulation

State Council

Dual-use Nuclear Equipment and Related Technologies (Listed by MOFCOM and China Atomic Energy Authority)


Dual-Use Biological Products and Related Equipment and Technologies Export Controlling Regulation

State Council

Dual-Use Biological Products and Related Equipment and Technologies (Listed by MOFCOM)


Guided Missiles and Related Items and Technologies Export Controlling Regulation

State Council

Guided Missiles and Related Items and Technologies (Listed by The State Council)


Chemical Products and Related Equipment and Technologies Export Controlling Regulation

State Council

Chemical Products and Related Equipment and Technologies (Listed by MOFCOM and GAC)


Supply chain security

Has your jurisdiction implemented the WCO’s SAFE Framework of Standards? Does it have an AEO programme or similar?

China signed the letter of intent regarding the SAFE Standards in 2005, and has since then been dedicated to enforcement of the WCO’s SAFE Framework of Standards.

Pursuant to Order No. 237 of GAC, the Regulation on PRC Custom Enterprise Credit Management took effect on 1 May 2018; meanwhile, the interim regulation pursuant to Order No. 225 of GAC was officially revoked.

Applicable countries

Where is information on countries subject to export controls listed?

No general list is available of the countries subject to export control by China.

MOFCOM, as well as other governmental agencies, may issue regulations (or orders) on export restriction or controls on some specific country to implement a UN sanctions resolution. Generally, the regulations (or orders) can be found on the websites of MOFCOM and GAC.

Named persons and institutions

Does your jurisdiction have a scheme restricting or banning exports to named persons and institutions abroad? Give details.

China has no restrictions on exports to named persons and institutions.


What are the possible penalties for violation of export controls?

Pursuant to article 82 of the revised Customs Law effected on 5 November 2017, transporting, carrying and posting goods and items whose import or export are forbidden or restricted to shall be deemed as a smuggling activity. For those activities that are not subject to criminal penalty, GAC may confiscate the goods, items and unjustified income, and confiscate or destroy the instruments used for smuggling.

For smuggling that does not constitute a crime, GAC shall confiscate the smuggled goods, articles and illegal gains and a fine may be imposed; smuggling that constitutes a crime would be subject to criminal penalties under the Criminal Law.

Pursuant to article 46 of the Regulations on Technology Import and Export Administration of the PRC, which took effect on 1 January 2012, where a technology whose import and export are prohibited or restricted is imported or exported without approval, the person concerned shall be prosecuted for criminal liability according to the provisions for the crimes of smuggling, illegal business operation or divulging national secrets or other crimes under the Criminal Law. Where such imports or exports are not so serious as to be prosecuted for criminal liability, a penalty shall be imposed according to the circumstances pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Customs Law, or the competent foreign trade department under the State Council may issue a warning, confiscate illegal income or impose a fine of from one to five times the illegal income. The competent foreign trade department under the State Council may revoke the foreign trade business licence.

According to article 151 of the Criminal Law, smuggling of prohibited products would be punished with fixed-term imprisonment of not more than five years or criminal detention, and fined separately or together; if the circumstances are serious, the sentence would be fixed-term imprisonment for more than five years and a fine.

Financial and other sanctions and trade embargoes

Government authorities

What government offices impose sanctions and embargoes?

Economic sanctions or trade embargoes (in compliance with the UN’s sanction resolution) are administered by several Chinese governmental agencies, including:

  • MOFCOM (;
  • BJSEC (;
  • QLAB (;
  • GAC (;
  • the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the PRC (;
  • the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (; and
  • the China Atomic Energy Authority (
Applicable countries

What countries are currently the subject of sanctions or embargoes by your country?

In compliance with the UN’s resolution, the Chinese government has implemented several embargoes against North Korea, pursuant to several notices and lists made by MOFCOM, GAC, the Department of Information and Industrialisation and the China Atomic Energy Authority. The items subject to the embargo include iron ores, coals, military weapons, and some dual-use materials and technologies. For example, on 8 April 2018, MOFCOM and GAC issued a forbidden notice on the export of certain dual-use items, technologies and conventional weapons related to weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery to North Korea according to UN Resolution No. 2375 (see

Specific individuals and companies

Are individuals or specific companies subject to financial sanctions?

No individuals or specific companies are subject to financial sanctions from China.

Other relevant issues

Other trade remedies and controls

Describe any trade remedy measures, import or export controls not covered above that are particular to your jurisdiction.

All trade remedy measures and import and export controls are detailed as above.


Recent developments

Are there any emerging trends or hot topics in trade and customs law and policy in your jurisdiction?What effects are Brexit, the withdrawal of the US from TPP, the slowdown of TTIP, RCEP; and negotiations of FTAs (such as the EU–Japan Free Trade Agreement) expected to have on your jurisdiction?

Key developments32 Are there any emerging trends or hot topics in trade and customs law and policy in your jurisdiction?

China, though slowing down compared with some years ago, is still a key element in world trade and economic growth. On the other hand, China is encountering a more complex international and domestic environment. The uncertainty of Brexit and the unpredictability of the Trump administration have brought challenges to China while it explores international markets more aggressively, such as taking the Belt and Road Initiative. In domestic markets China is undergoing an uneasy change from an export and investment-driven economy to a consumption-oriented one. A housing price bubble is seen everywhere, from big cities such as Shanghai and Beijing to some third or even forth-tier cities.

On 11 December 2016 China marked the 15th anniversary of its accession to the WTO. However, the United States, the EU and other countries have refused to recognise China’s market economy status and continue to calculate a dumping margin for Chinese products using a non-market economy approach. China requested consultations with the United States and EU respectively one day after the deadline, which has triggered a legal battle with its key trading partners.

MOFCOM is working to improve its trade remedy and other trade and customs regime. In April 2018, MOFCOM published its newly approved Regulations for Anti-dumping and Countervailing Hearings, Rules for Anti-dumping Questionnaire Response, and Regulations on Interim Review on Anti-dumping and Margins.

We are hopeful of a better performance for the Chinese economy, and of a fairer, more transparent and internationally engaging trade regime in China.

The information in this chapter is accurate as of July 2018.