DLA Piper: Tougher Product Liability Provisions Following The Release Of Long-awaited Amendments To Consumer Rights And Interests Protection Law In China

By Sammy Fang and Moore Lu

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The rise of consumerism in China over the past ten years, accompanied by huge increases in domestic consumption, has spurred greater regulatory enforcement in the area of product liability, as well as greater willingness by consumers to seek legal remedies in China.

In recent years, and in response to major food safety scandals and public outcry, the Chinese government has focused their regulatory oversight on a number of key sectors, including healthcare, food (particularly infant milk formula and health supplements), automobiles, and consumer goods. The Chinese central government continues to revise existing laws and issue new laws and regulations to tackle product liability issues and problems, and some of the major laws introduced or revised in recent years include the Food Safety Law and the Tort Liability Law 1 just to name a few. Now after twenty years since it came into force, on October 25, 2013, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress promulgated the first major comprehensive amendment to the Consumer Rights and Interests Protection Law ("Amended Consumer Law").

The Amended Consumer Law will come into effect on March 15, 2014. Some of the key changes that it will introduce include:

       Specific inclusion of provisions in relation to product recall and collective actions

       New provisions designed to protect consumers in the face of unprecedented pace of changes brought by the booming internet shopping sector

       Restrictions on the use and disclosure of consumers' personal information by business operators; and

       Tougher punishments to be imposed on companies in cases where the defect(s) in the goods or services provided is serious.


1 Which came into effect on June 1, 2009 and July 1, 2010 respectively.

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