China's Supreme People's Court has pledged to step up the drafting of judicial interpretations to clear way for the work of judges after China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Judicial interpretations that are not consistent with those regulations required by the WTO will be sorted out, said Cao Jianming, vice-president of the Supreme People's Court.
Cao made the remarks at a two-day seminar on legal issues that will follow China's WTO entry. China hopes to join the trade group sometime this year.
"There is a lot to be done in the sorting and drafting of judicial interpretations," Cao said.
The court efforts coincide with a similar endeavor by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, which is helping the National People's Congress draft many of China's new economic laws and regulations.
Legal experts have suggested amendments to those domestic laws and regulations that presently contradict WTO rules.
Another vice-president of the court, Li Guoguang, pledged last year that Chinese courts will give priority to WTO rules in cases where China's own laws and regulations are in conflict after WTO entry is complete.
Apart from law-making, Cao also called for efforts to weed out interference of local governments and departments in handling cases related to intellectual property rights and changes in the country's judicial review system.
Preparations should also be made to honor the WTO principle of transparency, under which foreign-trade laws, regulations and policies as well as judicial rulings must be public record, Cao added.
The impact of China's WTO accession was among the key topics for research of the Supreme People's Court last year and is expected to be explored further this year.
"New challenges will come on the heels of the expansion of trade and the increase in foreign investment," observed Lu Botao, president of the Guangdong High People's Court.
Lu said challenges come not only in the growth in the number of cases involving overseas parties but also the increased application of international treaties and rules in handling cases.
Cao said the National Judges College has already started to provide Chinese judges with a series of WTO-related training courses. A set of books focusing on legal matters involving the WTO also are being developed.
"Systematic training of judges nationwide on WTO rules has already become a pressing task," Cao said.
(China Daily February 22, 2001)