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China’s Ministry of Commerce has established two sub panels for legal services in relation to trade investigations.
The latest sub-panels were formed two weeks after the government body launched its first formal panel (24 October 2013). Through public competitive bidding procedures, conducted by procurement agent CMC International Tendering Company on behalf of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), a total of 13 Chinese firms and 12 international firms have won spots on the new panels.
The first of the new sub-panels enlisted 10 Chinese firms and 10 international firms, which are qualified to advise the ministry as well as the Chinese enterprises it represents in Section 337 investigations conducted by the US International Trade Commission (USITC). Those investigations relate to intellectual property rights, including allegations of patent infringement and trademark infringement by imported goods.
The second panel consists of five Chinese firms and five international firms, which are selected to provide legal services in relation to foreign trade remedy investigations, such as anti-dumping, countervailing and safeguards measures.
According to MOFCOM’s newly issued measures for instructing external counsel, the panels will be reviewed and re-appointed every two years through public tender. Other key guidelines include prioritising internal resources before considering instructing external lawyer and only instructing foreign counsel when necessary, as well as internal approval procedures when instructing external counsel.
Sub-panels for trade barrier investigations and response: