China is considering new export restrictions on advanced technologies, including, in particular, in the life sciences sectors. In late December 2022, China’s Ministry of Commerce (“MOFCOM”) issued the proposed amendment to the country’s Catalogue of Technologies Prohibited and Restricted for Export (the “Export Catalogue”) for public consultation (the “Proposed Amendment”). The Proposed Amendment is subject to change but, once finalized, would be another significant revamp after two other major amendments of the Export Catalogue, first in 2008 and then again in 2020. The amended Export Catalogue seeks to introduce “cell cloning and gene editing for human use,” “CRISPR gene editing,” and “synthetic biology” to the control list.
China’s biopharmaceutical industry has been facing increased pressure in recent years from various directions, such as practical challenges in access to advanced technologies and certain Chinese companies being placed on the Entity List under the U.S. Export Administration Regulations. In response, China has been strengthening its own export control over China-originated cutting-edge biotechnologies, highlighting concerns over national security and public interest and also the redirected focus on domestic markets.
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