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From 13 to 17 October 2020, the 22nd Session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress (“NPC”) deliberated on the third review draft (草案三次审议稿) of China’s Export Control Law (“ECL”) before its final passage into law on 17 October 2020. The ECL will come into effect on 1 December 2020.

This is the first comprehensive and consolidated export control law in China. Prior to the law’s enactment, export controls were imposed via a series of separate administrative regulations controlling dual-use, military items, nuclear, missile, chemical and biological items, and related technologies, etc. To implement the ECL, existing administrative regulations on export controls may need to be further revised.

The ECL contains 5 chapters and 49 articles, which include rules on export control policies, control lists, control measures, and legal liabilities for non-compliance. The ECL is similar to the second review draft (see our previous post here), though it does depart in a few aspects. Some additions include:

  • Rules specifying that a controlled item would also include the item’s corresponding data, such as technical information.
  • Under special circumstances, export operators may apply to authorities so that they may transact with blacklisted importers and end users on the ECL’s control list. Importers and end-users listed on the control list may also apply to authorities for removal should the circumstances that led to their listing no longer apply.
  • Export control authorities will issue industry-specific guidelines to guide export operators in the establishment and improvement of their internal export control compliance systems and operational effectiveness.
  • Criminal liability (rather than solely administrative liability) may apply to scenarios whereby prohibited or unlicensed items were exported. These actions will be investigated in accordance with criminal laws should they constitute a crime.
  • The new ECL also stipulates that should any country or region abuse export control measures to endanger the national security and interests of the PRC, then the PRC may, based on actual conditions, take reciprocal measures against that country or region.

Baker McKenzie has prepared an English-language version of the Export Control Law, and it can be requested from the author at


Jon Cowley is a member of Baker McKenzie's Hong Kong office. Jon's practice focuses on Asia-Pacific customs and trade matters, including controversy and audit support, duty and indirect tax planning, supply chain structuring and trade compliance advice. Jon returned to Baker McKenzie after spending five years as Assistant General Counsel for Customs and International Trade at a major consumer product company, where he advised the business on trade and customs issues globally. He previously was a member of Baker McKenzie’s International Trade Controversies and Planning practice in Hong Kong, where he assisted multinational companies with China customs, export control, encryption, indirect tax and cross-border regulatory matters. Earlier in his career, Jon was a trade advisor with consulting firms in Silicon Valley and Chicago.