China Updates Technology Import Restrictions, Simplifies Import Technology Catalog | Goodwin

On November 2, 2021, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) printed a discover of an replace to China’s Catalog of Applied sciences the Import of Which is Prohibited or Restricted (the “Catalog”). That is the primary time the Catalog has been revised in 14 years, and the brand new Catalog is considerably shorter, as promised by MOFCOM in 2020 after its revision of China’s Catalog of Applied sciences the Export of Which is Prohibited or Restricted.

The shortening of the Catalog is the results of adjustments to the guiding ideas for figuring out what applied sciences needs to be prohibited or restricted from being imported, with the overarching goal to simplify the Catalog as a lot as doable. For instance, out of date manufacturing applied sciences stipulated by China’s legal guidelines and rules are not prohibited from being imported, not as a result of the nation is now encouraging their importation however as a result of such applied sciences have fallen into such disuse that it’s not needed to incorporate them within the Catalog. With respect to the applied sciences of which the import is restricted, the brand new Catalog eliminated a number of classes of applied sciences which may be thought-about protectionist, comparable to applied sciences thought-about “needed” to ascertain or expedite the institution of sure home industries or to safeguard China’s worldwide monetary standing and stability of funds, or applied sciences inconsistent with China’s industrial insurance policies.


Expertise import into China is ruled by China’s Expertise Import and Export Rules (TIER). The scope of expertise import regulated by TIER may be very broad, and consists of all acts of expertise switch from outdoors China to inside China, whether or not by means of commerce, funding, or financial and technological cooperation. Particularly, TIER regulates inbound assignments of patents and patent functions, patent licenses, transfers of technological secrets and techniques, provision of technological providers, and different types of inbound cross-border expertise transfers. TIER categorizes expertise imports into three classes: applied sciences which may be “freely” imported (the “Free Applied sciences”), applied sciences the import of which is restricted (the “Restricted Applied sciences”), and applied sciences the import of which is prohibited (the “Prohibited Applied sciences”). The Catalog, promulgated by MOFCOM, consists of the lists of the Restricted Applied sciences and the Prohibited Applied sciences. Beneath TIER, import of the Prohibited Applied sciences is prohibited, import of the Restricted Applied sciences is topic to MOFCOM’s prior approval, and the regulatory requirement for the import of the Free Applied sciences is the after-the-fact registration of the related expertise import contract, which shall change into efficient based on its personal phrases and never conditioned on the registration.

MOFCOM’s approval of import of the Restricted Applied sciences could be a two-step or one-step course of earlier than MOFCOM, relying on the timing of the execution of the expertise import contract vs. the applying of the expertise import license (the “Expertise Import License”). The appliance for approval of the import of a Restricted Expertise might be submitted to MOFCOM earlier than or in the course of the negotiation of the expertise import contract, or after the expertise import contract is signed, by which case, a duplicate of the executed expertise import contract needs to be included within the software supplies.

After receiving the applying, MOFCOM will conduct a evaluation of the Restricted Expertise along with different relevant governmental businesses, e.g., China Nationwide Mental Property Administration, China’s Ministry of Science and Expertise or Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, or the Nationwide Forestry and Grassland Administration, relying on the character of the Restricted Expertise. If the applying doesn’t embrace a duplicate of the executed expertise import contract, the evaluation by MOFCOM (or along with the opposite governmental businesses, because the case could also be) might take as much as 30 enterprise days earlier than an approval or disapproval determination might be made. The approval isn’t the ultimate approval of the expertise import, however might be a Provisional License for Expertise Import (the “Provisional License”). The expertise import applicant might signal the expertise import contract after the issuance of the Provisional License. After the expertise import contract is signed, the applicant should apply for the ultimate Expertise Import License by submitting to MOFCOM a duplicate of the executed expertise import contract and related supporting documentation. MOFCOM will conduct an authenticity evaluation of the expertise import contract, and can decide on whether or not to approve the expertise import inside 10 enterprise days after receiving the required paperwork. The approval determination might be within the type of a Expertise Import License.

If the preliminary software to MOFCOM features a copy of the executed expertise import contract, MOFCOM might take as much as 40 enterprise days to evaluation all the software bundle (together with the authenticity evaluation of the expertise import contract) earlier than deciding whether or not to grant the Expertise Import License or not.

It’s price noting that, no matter any efficient date set forth in a expertise import contract, with respect to any Restricted Expertise, the contract is efficient solely upon the issuance of the Expertise Import License. Within the occasion of any materials modification to a expertise import contract after acquiring the Expertise Import License, the expertise importer is required below TIER to use for a brand new Expertise Import License. The termination of a expertise import contract shall even be recorded with MOFCOM.


The obvious simplification or shortening of the Catalog can simply be misconstrued as a discount of the scope of the Restricted Applied sciences throughout the board. As is at all times, nonetheless, the satan is within the particulars. The enlargement of the scope of sure Restricted Applied sciences might be present in sure Life Sciences applied sciences. For instance, “agricultural genetically modified organism software expertise” stays a Restricted Expertise within the Catalog, however the scope has been expanded from the applied sciences themselves to merchandise of the applying of the applied sciences, specifically, genetically engineered plant seeds and seedlings, animal breeds, aquatic fries and microbial species modified by fashionable biotechnology. It is a important enlargement and has far-reaching implications as a result of the importation of GMOs are actually regulated not solely by items import rules but in addition by expertise import rules as a type of Restricted Expertise topic to MOFCOM approval and requiring a Expertise Import License.


The brand new Catalog additionally consists of sure Restricted Applied sciences that weren’t within the earlier Catalog. For instance, “fruit and vegetable preservation expertise,” particularly, sterilization expertise for fruit and veggies utilizing carbendazim, has now change into a Restricted Expertise.

An essential addition to the Catalog as a Restricted Expertise is “extremely pathogenic microorganisms.” These embrace these pathogenic microorganisms that trigger the illnesses listed within the Checklist of Quarantine Ailments for the Animals Imported to the Individuals’s Republic of China, promulgated collectively by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and China’s Normal Administration of Customs in 2020 (a complete of 170 illnesses), these within the Checklist of Pathogenic Microorganisms Transmitted from Individual to Individual as Classes I or II pathogenic microorganisms, promulgated by the then Ministry of Well being in 2006 (a complete of 99 microorganisms), and the pathogenic microorganisms which might be but to be found or have been declared eradicated in China.

The one Restricted Applied sciences within the software program and data expertise providers business within the Catalog (deepfake expertise and knowledge encryption expertise) are newly added to the Catalog. Clearly, they’d not have been included within the prior Catalog given the timing of their introduction.

This text has supplied a high-level abstract of China’s expertise import rules and the newest Catalog. For up to date data on China’s expertise export rules, please seek advice from the creator’s article here.

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