5 Reasons Why Your Manufacturing Contract May Not Be Enforceable in China

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Engaging in the Chinese manufacturing sector requires a keen understanding of its legal environment. Here are five key reasons why your manufacturing contract might not stand up to scrutiny in China:


1. No Chinese Language Contract:

It’s not just about convenience; it’s about legal recognition. Courts and arbitrators in China give precedence to contracts written in the Chinese language. Contracts not crafted in Chinese could face enforcement challenges or be dismissed due to interpretational ambiguities. Contracts in other languages, like English, will be translated into Chinese by the courts in China. This translation will result in lower enforceability in China than a contract text already translated into Chinese and verified according to Chinese laws.


2. Exclusion of Chinese Law as the Governing Law:

A critical error is assuming that a contract governed by foreign law will be as enforceable in China as it is abroad. For optimal enforceability in China, the contract should explicitly state Chinese law as its governing legal framework. Chinese courts are most receptive to contracts that adhere to their native legal system.


3. Ambiguous Dispute Resolution Clauses:

The mechanism for resolving potential disputes needs clarity. Contracts must indicate if disagreements will be settled via arbitration or in court and, importantly, where this resolution will happen. Given China’s unique legal landscape, specifying arbitration within the country can expedite the enforcement process.


4. Omitting Essential Seals and Signatures:

The significance of Chinese companies using their company seals or chops is paramount in China. Contracts missing the necessary seals or not signed by the designated company representatives can be considered non-compliant and might face enforceability issues.


5. Relying on Generic Foreign Contracts:

One of the most significant pitfalls foreign businesses encounter is applying a “one size fits all” contract template without adjusting it to Chinese laws. Such generic contracts can overlook critical legal intricacies of the Chinese system. Contracts should be tailored to respect and reflect Chinese legal requirements and standards to ensure enforceability.

Navigating the Chinese manufacturing landscape requires meticulous attention to its legal intricacies. Equipping oneself with a contract meticulously tailored to the Chinese legal environment is more than a formality; it’s a strategic necessity. As businesses aim to harness the vast opportunities in China, understanding and respecting these legal nuances becomes the foundation for fruitful collaborations and long-term success.


FAQ: Manufacturing Contracts in China

  1. Why is it important to have a contract in the Chinese language?It’s essential for legal recognition. Chinese courts and arbitrators give precedence to contracts written in Chinese, ensuring clearer interpretation and better enforcement chances.
  2. Can I use foreign law as the governing law for my contract in China?While you technically can, it’s not recommended. Contracts governed by Chinese law have a better chance of being enforced by Chinese courts, ensuring smoother legal processes.
  3. What should I specify regarding dispute resolutions in my contract?It’s crucial to outline whether disputes will be resolved through arbitration or in court. Moreover, indicating that the resolution will occur within China can expedite the enforcement process.
  4. How crucial are company seals and signatures in Chinese contracts?They’re paramount. Contracts without the necessary company seals (chops) or those not signed by the legal person in the Chinese company might be deemed non-compliant and could face enforceability issues.
  5. Can I use a standard foreign contract for manufacturing in China?Using a “one size fits all” foreign contract template can be problematic. Contracts for Chinese operations should be tailored to respect and reflect Chinese legal requirements and standards for optimal enforceability.
  6. What’s the main takeaway for businesses looking to manufacture in China?Understanding and respecting the legal intricacies of China is foundational for success. It’s not just about compliance; it’s about creating a foundation for productive collaborations and long-term business growth in the region.


Contact us if you need legal help in China, like drafting contracts that follow Chinese law, background investigation of Chinese companies, protecting patents, trademarks, copyrights, and verification of contracts to the law in China, help with trade and IP disputes in China, etc.
If you require our assistance or have further questions about our services, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Relationship Manager, Jan Erik Christensen, at janerik@ncbhub.com. We look forward to hearing from you and helping your business succeed in China.