NPCSC Revises Judicial Personnel Laws, Amends Trademark and Unfair Competition Laws

The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its 10th session on Tuesday. It adopted comprehensive changes to the two laws governing judges and procurators and approved relatively minor amendments to eight other laws, three of which aim to enhance intellectual property protections. Below we summarize each in turn.

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NPCSC Session Watch: Securities Law Revision, Civil Code & Foreign Investment Law Implementation

The Council of Chairpersons met last Friday and decided to convene the 10th session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) from April 20 to 23. The Council also approved the NPCSC’s 2019 legislative and oversight plans, which we expect to be released after the session. Per the Council’s decision, the NPCSC this month will review eight legislative bills. Below we take a brief look at each.

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NPC Calendar: April 2019

April 4 marks the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Administrative Litigation Law [行政诉讼法]—a landmark event in modern Chinese law.

The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) is expected to convene for its 10th session in late April. The Council of Chairpersons* is expected to meet in mid-April to decide on the agenda and dates of the session as well as approve the NPCSC’s 2019 legislative and oversight plans. We expect both plans to be released after the upcoming NPCSC session concludes.

We expect the session to review for the third time a draft revision to the Securities Law [证券法], after having done so in April 2017 and April 2015. Based on the China Securities Regulatory Commission’s 2019 legislative plan, it is possible that a draft revision to the Company Law [公司法] and a draft Criminal Law Amendment (XI) [刑法修正案(十一)] would be considered together with the draft Securities Law revision.

The following legislative bills are likely to return for further review:


* We have previously translated 委员长会议 as “Council of Chairmen,” in line with the official English translation of China’s Constitution. But recently the Council has been given a gender-neutral translation, according to the NPC’s English website. We will make the same change, starting with this blog post.


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2019 NPC Session: Documents List

The 2nd Session of the 13th NPC concluded on Friday, March 15, after having approved all reports and bills submitted to it for consideration. As usual, here is a list of all official documents from this Session.

Unless otherwise noted, all documents are available in Chinese only.

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Summary of China’s New Foreign Investment Law

On Friday, March 15, 2019, the National People’s Congress adopted the Foreign Investment Law [外商投资法] by a 2929–8 vote, with 8 abstentions and 3 delegates not voting. Upon taking effect on January 1, 2020, the Law will replace China’s currently fragmented foreign investment regime: three separate foreign investment laws enacted in the early years of China’s economic reform. Our English translation of the new Law is available here.

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2019 NPC Session: Agenda and Daily Schedule

On Monday, the 2019 NPC session released its agenda, daily schedule of meetings, and a tentative schedule of press conferences (Excel). The Session will open on the morning of Tuesday, March 5 and close on the morning of Friday, March 15, lasting a total of 10½ days. All times below are in Beijing Time (UTC +8:00).

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NPC Calendar: March 2019

The 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) will convene for its second annual session on Tuesday, March 5. The Session’s agenda has not yet been finalized, but we expect it to include the following:

  • Hear and deliberate the Government Work Report;
  • Hear and deliberate work reports by the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC), the Supreme People’s Court, and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate;
  • Review and approve the report on the execution of the 2018 National Economic and Social Development Plan and on the draft 2019 National Economic and Social Development Plan;
  • Approve the 2019 National Economic and Social Development Plan;
  • Review and approve the report on the execution of the 2018 Central and Local Budgets and on the draft 2019 Central and Local Budgets;
  • Approve the 2019 Central Budget;
  • Deliberate the draft Foreign Investment Law [外商投资法].

We also expect the Session to retroactively approve the resignation of Zhang Rongshun [张荣顺] as an NPCSC member in June 2018. He has since been appointed a deputy director of the Central Government’s Liaison Office in Macau. Under Chinese law, an NPCSC member must resign if he is to serve in an administrative agency.

On March 4, the Session will convene for a preparatory meeting to select members of the Presidium (which will preside over the Session) and to finalize the Session’s agenda. The Presidium will then immediately meet to decide on (among other matters) the Session’s daily schedule. Shortly thereafter the Session is expected to hold its first press conference.

We expect the NPC’s 2019 annual session to close around March 15. On that last day, we expect it to approve the Foreign Investment Law.


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Second Draft of Foreign Investment Law: A Summary of Main Changes (UPDATED)

UPDATE (Feb. 18, 2019): The NPCSC apparently did quietly release the full text of the second draft of the Foreign Investment Law on January 29. (So quietly that we could not find the webpage unless we use the website’s search function.) We thank the reader who sent us the link.


We shall start by saying that, no, the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) has not released the official second draft of the Foreign Investment Law [外商投资法] that it reviewed in late January. We instead found an unofficial version of the second draft on WeChat—specifically this post by a public account focusing on fiscal and tax issues.[*] After checking this document against state media reports on the second draft, we have every reason to believe that it is authentic.

An English translation of the second draft of the Foreign Investment Law (along with the Chinese original) is now available on China Law Translate.

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NPC Calendar: February 2019

The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) will convene for a regularly scheduled session late this month. The Council of Chairmen is expected to meet soon after the Lunar New Year holiday (February 4–10) to decide on the dates and agenda of the session.

The NPCSC will mainly prepare for the 2019 NPC session (including by discussing a draft of its annual work report) at its upcoming meeting, but may still review one or two legislative bills. Possible candidates include:

The NPCSC is soliciting public comments on the draft Foreign Investment Law [外商投资法] through February 24, 2019. It is also seeking comments on the following draft laws through February 3, 2019:


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NPCSC Adds Special Session for Second Review of Foreign Investment Law (UPDATED)

UPDATE (Jan. 29, 2019): On the morning of January 29, the NPCSC decided to submit the draft Foreign Investment Law to the 2019 NPC session for deliberation (and most certainly adoption). It is unclear at this point whether it will release the second draft of the Law for public comments, but as we argued below, the chance is slim. We very briefly noted the main new provisions in the newest draft on Twitter:


The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) conducted an initial review of the draft Foreign Investment Law [外商投资法] last December but took no further action. Readers may recall that we then explained what we saw as the (only) two potential legislative timetables for the Law: It will be adopted by the NPC either this March (after another NPCSC review in late February) or in March 2020 (after a few more readings in 2019). The longer process would not help show China’s willingness to comply with certain demands the United States made during trade negotiations, while the shorter one faces procedural hurdles under Chinese law.

Faced with two imperfect choices, the NPCSC has decided to take an unexpected third approach. It will convene for a special session from January 29 to 30 to conduct a second review of the draft Foreign Investment Law, the Council of Chairmen announced on Wednesday. At the end of the two-day session, the NPCSC will most certainly submit the Law to the NPC, which will then most certainly approve it at its annual session in March.

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