Chinese legislators on Monday began reviewing the latest draft e-commerce law, which was submitted to the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee for the fourth reading at a bimonthly session running from Monday to Friday.
"The law is a necessity to protect the legitimate interests of all e-commerce participants, regulate conduct, maintain market order, and improve the sustainable and sound development of e-commerce," Xu Hui, vice chairman of the NPC Constitution and Law Committee, read in a report to legislators.
Operators engaging in cross-border e-commerce should abide by laws and administrative regulations regarding import and export, according to the draft law.
E-commerce platform operators may face a penalty of 500,000 yuan (73,473.2 U.S. dollars), or up to 2 million yuan (293,892.9 U.S. dollars) in serious cases, for failing to take necessary steps against intellectual property rights infringement by merchants on their platforms, or unreasonably restricting transactions on the platforms, the draft law said.
It also said e-commerce operators should fulfill their obligations to protect the environment, adding that the State Council, local governments at or above county-level as well as related departments should take measures to support and promote environmentally friendly packaging, storage, and transportation in e-commerce.
Delivery service providers should ask for customers' consent if delivered items are to be accepted by people other than the customers themselves, said the draft law.
China, the world's largest e-commerce market, saw its online retail sales grow 32.2 percent year on year in 2017 to reach 7.18 trillion yuan (1.1 trillion U.S. dollars).
The draft e-commerce law was first reviewed in December 2016 then later deliberated in October 2017 and June 2018 by the NPC Standing Committee.