China - Country Commercial Guide
Selling to the Public Sector

Describes how major projects are secured and financed. Explains activities of the multilateral development banks in and other aid-funded projects.

Last published date: 2021-02-03

China’s current government procurement regime is governed by two primary laws: 

  • Government Procurement Law: This law, administered by the Ministry of Finance, covers purchasing activities conducted by central, provincial and municipal governments and some state-owned enterprises with funds from the government’s annual budget (known as “fiscal funds” in China.)
  • Tendering and Bidding Law (TBL): This law, administered by the National Development and Reform Commission, imposes uniform tendering and bidding procedures for certain classes of construction and public works projects.  The projects that use government funds are generally considered government procurement while some projects subject to the TBL are not considered government procurement but rather are regular non-governmental construction projects. 

China has yet to join the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) so China has few obligations to allow foreign companies to bid on Chinese government procurement opportunities, but in practice such opportunities do exist, particularly when Chinese manufacturers may not be able to fully meet the needs of the project. 

Restrictions on Military Sales

The U.S. Government imposes restrictions on the sale of many items to the Chinese military.  Restrictions on this type of business exist both in the United States and China.  For example, the United States restricts the export of munitions items to China.  
 
Before selling to the Chinese military, U.S. manufacturers should contact the following two agencies for additional guidance:

Bids on Public Sector Contracts

The  U.S. Department of Commerce’s Advocacy Center coordinates U.S. government advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters bidding on public sector contracts with overseas governments and government-owned corporations.  The Advocacy Center helps to ensure that sales of U.S. products and services to foreign governments have the best possible chance of competing abroad.  
 
Advocacy assistance is wide and varied but often involves companies that want the U.S. Government to communicate a message to foreign governments or government-owned corporations on behalf of their commercial interest, typically in a competitive bid contest.
 
Many governments finance public works projects through borrowing from multilateral development banks (MDBs). For more information on how to work with MDBs please connect with our U.S. Commercial Service MDB liaisons here.