On 17 April 2018, the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee released its 2018 legislative work plan (全国人大常委会2018年立法工作计划). The plan is divided into sections on different categories of specific legislative projects, with the last part addressing guiding principles for implementing the plan.
The lists of legislative projects include unfinished projects carried over from previous years, new projects, and preparatory projects that will be drafted and scheduled for deliberation in 2018 or later. The guidelines stress the primacy of the Communist Party of China with President Xi Jinping at its core and the rule of law.
New and unfinished projects scheduled for deliberation by the NPC Standing Committee this year include:
• The draft E-commerce Law (see Legal update, NPC Standing Committee circulates second draft of Ecommerce Law).
• The draft Foreign Investment Law (see Legal update, Draft Foreign Investment Law open for comment until 17 February 2015).
• Various sections of China's new Civil Code (see Legal update, China enacts general provisions of civil code).
Preparatory legislative projects in the plan include revisions to existing laws such as the Securities Law, Copyright Law, Workplace Safety Law and Tax Collection Law, as well as new laws such as the Export Control Law, Encryption Law, Futures Law and Real Estate Tax Law.
Paul McKenzie, Partner, Morrison & Foerster, Beijing and Shanghai :"Various legislation in the NPC's plan is potentially very significant for international businesses. The Foreign Investment Law seemed to lose momentum after a draft was issued for public comment in 2015. It is therefore notable that the NPC plan contemplates that the draft will be progressed by December. An area of legislative work that has had scant attention from foreign commentators is the drafting of the sections of China's new civil code, following the coming into effect last October of the General Provisions of the Civil Code. That work will have a profound impact on the development of Chinese law."
This development does not require specific action by GC, though counsel for all businesses in China will want to review the new legislative plan to identify any relevant pending legislation and work with business and government relations colleagues to attempt to influence, and develop compliance measures in response to, the final rules.