Recently introduced regulations on import and export contracts bring important changes to the technology licensing regime in China.
Technology transfers have long been an integral part of China’s economic development. According to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (Moftec), high-technology exports amount to 17 per cent of total exports, worth about US$45bn a year.
However, the regulatory framework governing such transfers has in the past been burdensome, requiring that all technology transfer contracts be approved or ‘registered’ in order to be effective. China’s Technology Import and Export Administrative Regulations, which were made effective from the start of this year, bring substantive changes to the technology licensing regime. The new regulations prevail over previous regulations on technology import and export administration, and supersede the 1985 Regulations on Administration of Technology Import Contracts and their 1988 implementing rules.
The new regulations divide technology imports and exports into three categories: free, restricted and prohibited. Moftec, together with the State Economic and Trade Commission and the Ministry of Science and Technology, is publishing catalogues of restricted and prohibited technologies.