Beijing speeds up legislation to ease trade row

Businesses have also raised fears that the time to review and raise objections on such a crucial piece of legislation has been cut short.
Businesses have also raised fears that the time to review and raise objections on such a crucial piece of legislation has been cut short.PHOTO: REUTERS

China is accelerating plans to introduce a new foreign investment law that will tackle some of the key sources of friction with the United States by banning forced technology transfers and better protecting intellectual property rights.

The National People's Congress, China's Parliament, will vote on the new law, which will replace three existing laws, during a session scheduled to open on March 5, the official Xinhua news agency said. It is sure to be approved.

The speed with which China is enacting the law - Beijing will do in three months what usually takes at least a year - underscores Chinese President Xi Jinping's eagerness to reach a deal with the US.

The National People's Congress Standing Committee is reviewing an updated version of the legislation, according to Xinhua.

But that text has not yet been made public, leaving foreign investors uncertain of the extent of the changes made since the end of December.

Based on the most recent publicly available text, the law may fall short of what is needed to defuse the Trump administration's concerns, according to some US experts.

Businesses have also raised fears that the time to review and raise objections on such a crucial piece of legislation has been cut short.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2019, with the headline 'Beijing speeds up legislation to ease trade row'. Print Edition | Subscribe