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Regulation meant to protect overseas Chinese workers' rights

Publication Date : 31-07-2012


The Ministry of Commerce is calling for China's exports of labour to be better regulated, as Chinese enterprises expand more quickly overseas and an increasing number of workers are sent abroad.

"According to the country's first regulation of exported labour, the ministry will work with other government organisations and local governments to establish a means of cooperation and stronger supervision of enterprises that send workers abroad," Chen Deming, minister of commerce, said yesterday.

Chen made the remarks during a videophone conference held by the Ministry of Commerce, the Supreme People's Court and the Ministry of Transport.

In June, the State Council issued a set of rules to regulate export of labour and protect workers' rights abroad. The regulations will take effect tomorrow.

Chen said they mark a significant change in China's regulation of labour exports and will lead to improvements in the industry.

Diao Chunhe, director at the China International Contracts Association, said the protection of workers' lawful rights and interests is the regulations' chief goal.
They will subject companies to higher standards covering the export of labour and clarify responsibilities of the various governmental departments involved.

According to the regulations and other laws, businesses are qualified to export labour if they have at least 6 million yuan (US$940,000) in paid-up registered capital, have three or more people familiar with foreign labour services and the laws involved, have a sound internal management system and have an emergency management system.

As China invests more in other economies, the number of Chinese workers overseas will increase rapidly and labour disputes related to such workers are likely to become more common.

"That is pushing the government to take further steps to regulate labour issues abroad," Chen said.

In the first half of the year, China's non-financial outbound direct investment increased by 48.2 per cent to $35.42 billion. Chinese enterprises' investment activities are being conducted in 116 countries and regions around the world.

In the first six months of the year, China sent 216,000 people to work abroad, up 2.4 per cent from a year earlier.

"The foreign exchange revenues brought in by sending workers abroad has surpassed $4 billion each year and more than 4 million people's livelihoods have been improved," Chen said.

"Many professionals who were working abroad start businesses themselves, taking advantage of the experiences they had abroad and the technology they learned about. The social benefits are obvious, for this promotes general prosperity."


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