China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee on Sunday passed the Export Control Law of the People’s Republic of China, which restricts sensitive exports, such as military, nuclear and technology goods, that may threaten national security. A list of controlled items will be published “in a timely manner.”
This law allows China to retaliate against countries, such as the US, that abuse export controls. This law comes following the Trump administration’s attempts to block Huawei, TikTok and WeChat from operating within the US.
The law includes a requirement that exporters obtain licenses for exports that may harm China’s national security even if the exports are not on the controlled items list. Exporters have an obligation to independently assess whether an unlisted export product may pose a risk to national security. The State Export Control Authority may issue licenses for the export of controlled items.
Amendments to the law added national interests alongside national security as grounds for restricting exports. This allows China to use the law to advance foreign or industrial policy goals that may not be directly related to national security.
The text of the law explicitly warns that if any country abuses its own export control laws against China, then China “may reciprocally take measures based on the actual situation.”