New rules to counter unjustified foreign trade

The rules aim at "protecting the legitimate rights and interests" of Chinese people and companies, and safeguarding the country's interests, said the commerce ministry.

China’s Ministry of Commerce on Saturday published new rules for countering unjustified laws and restrictions imposed by foreign countries on Chinese companies and citizens, as economic relations between China and the United States deteriorate.

The rules on “unjustified extraterritorial application of foreign legislation” were posted on the department’s website and established a “working mechanism” to assess the legal implications of such incidents.

According to the notice, a Chinese person or organization that is restricted by foreign legislation from “engaging in normal economic, trade and related activity with a third state or its citizens” may report it to the commerce department within 30 days.

The commerce department will then assess the case for its potential violation of international law, impact on China’s sovereignty and national security, and impact on Chinese citizens.

If China’s working group confirms there are “unjustified” measures, it can impose a prohibition order rejecting the application of these foreign laws.

When a citizen or other organization “suffers significant losses” from non-compliance with foreign legislation, “relevant government departments may provide necessary support,” the notice says.

The Chinese government might also enact “necessary countermeasures” in response.

The rules aim at “protecting the legitimate rights and interests” of Chinese people and companies, and safeguarding the country’s interests, said the commerce ministry.

The new rules come amid an ongoing backlash against various Chinese companies from foreign governments, especially the United States.

Last year Washington, citing national security concerns, imposed restrictions on Huawei Technologies, a telecom and consumer hardware giant, that deprive it of critical components and threaten to cripple its smartphone business.

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