The draft amendment to the Foreign Trade Law, submitted for deliberation for the third time, is expected to be passed during the ongoing meeting of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) from April 2 to 6.
The draft amendment, which has been deliberated twice, overhauls the current Foreign Trade Law, passed in May 1994.
During the group discussion meetings in the afternoon, most members of the NPC Standing Committee said that the draft amendment had satisfied the demands proposed by them in the last two deliberations and agreed to submit it for vote at the meeting.
Individuals can also be operators of foreign trade, and some restrictive qualifications on foreign trade operators will be removed, under the submitted draft.
The draft adds two chapters on protection of intellectual property and foreign trade investigations and some provisions about restrictions on imports and exports, safety exceptions and others.
In order to respond promptly to sudden changes in foreign trade and provide better service to the operators, the draft also suggests establishing an early warning system, a public information service system, a statistics mechanism and publicity about illegal operations.
Compared with the only punishment in the current law -- withdrawal of operation credit -- the draft strengthens sanctions against illegal operations through adopting more severe punishments, from criminal penalties to administrative penalties and cancellation of operators' qualifications.
(Xinhua News Agency April 3, 2004)