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China Promulgates Regulations for Conclusion of International Treaties

Tue, 13 Dec 2022
Categories: China Legal Trends

On 16 Oct. 2022, China’s State Council promulgated the “Administrative Measures for the Conclusion of Treaties” (hereinafter the “Measures”, 缔结条约管理办法), which will come into effect on 1 Jan. 2023.

Under the Law on the Procedure of the Conclusion of Treaties, the division of labour between Chinese state agencies in concluding treaties is as follows:

  • The State Council shall, as China’s central government, conclude treaties and agreements with foreign states.
  • The National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee shall, as China’s legislature, ratify and abrogate certain specific treaties and important agreements concluded with foreign states.

The Measures mainly focuses on the authority of the State Council, i.e., how the State Council and its relevant departments participate in the conclusion of treaties.

The Measures consists of a total of 36 articles, among which the notable provisions are as follows:

  1. Unless otherwise authorized by the Constitution, laws, and the State Council, local governments at all levels are not empowered to conclude treaties;
  2. The specific time limits are prescribed for the acts such as initiating treaty negotiations, signing treaties, presenting the full powers, submitting treaties to the State Council for review and record-filing, submitting treaties to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for registration and deposit, notifying the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the preparation, deposit or exchange of instruments of ratification or approval, and notifying the governments of the special administrative regions;
  3. Where a treaty involves diplomacy and national defense affairs, or a treaty is required to apply to the entire territory of the People’s Republic of China by the nature and provisions of the treaty, the State Council shall notify the governments of the special administrative regions via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the treaty will apply to the special administrative regions.
  4. When concluding multilateral treaties, comments shall be sought via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, respectively from the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region. If a multilateral treaty specifies that contracting parties are not limited to sovereign states, and according to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macao Special Administrative Region are empowered to sign the multilateral treaty, the State Council is not required to request comments from the governments of the special administrative regions.



Cover Photo by Vincent Tint on Unsplash

Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team

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