On May 30, 2023, one day before the Measures on the Standard Contract for the Cross-Border Transfer of Personal Information (“Measures”) were scheduled to take effect, the Cyberspace Administration of China (“CAC”) released a first edition of its guidance on how organizations should complete the filing procedure for Standard Contracts (“CAC Guidance”). (See our prior blog posts on the Standard Contract here.)

In addition to underscoring that only companies which are not required to undergo a CAC-administrated security assessment can rely on the Standard Contract as a transfer mechanism, the CAC Guidance provides more details on (1) the submission of documentation when filing the Standard Contract, (2) decision on the submission and any supplementary requests, and (3) supplementing or re-filing the Standard Contract once it is approved an in effect, if necessary.

In the initial phase of filing the Standard Contract, the personal information processing entity (functionally equivalent to a data controller under EU’s General Data Protection Regulation) must provide specific documents, which include the Standard Contract and a “Personal Information Protection Impact Assessment Report” that provides a detailed description of the transfers covered by the Standard Contract. To that end, the CAC’s guidance includes a template Standard Contract and Personal Information Protection Impact Assessment Report. Note that the template Personal Information Protection Impact Assessment Report requires a similar level of detail as the template self-assessment report on cross-border data transfer risks for companies subject to the security assessment. (See our prior blog post on the security assessment application here).

Upon receiving the required documentation, the provincial CAC has 15 working days to accept or reject the submission, and then must inform the personal information processing entity of its decision. If the submission is accepted, it will be assigned a record-filing number. If it is rejected, the provincial CAC will issue a notice of failure and may request supplementary information for further review, which the personal information processing entity must respond to within 10 working days.

The CAC Guidance notes that, once a Standard Contract is approved and in effect, situations may arise that warrant re-evaluation of the impact of transfers on personal information protection, and even an amendment or re-execution of the Standard Contract. Such cases may include, in particular, material changes to the purpose, scope, type, sensitivity, mode, storage location/period, or use of personal information by the Overseas Recipient, as well as changes to the personal information protection laws or policies of the Overseas Recipient’s jurisdiction. The personal information processing entity must warrant to the authenticity of any submitted documents, and will bear legal consequences for the submission of any false materials.

(This blog post was written with contributions from Mingxin Liu.)

Photo of Yan Luo Yan Luo

Yan Luo advises clients on a broad range of regulatory matters in connection with data privacy and cybersecurity, antitrust and competition, as well as international trade laws in the United States, EU, and China.

Yan has significant experience assisting multinational companies navigating the…

Yan Luo advises clients on a broad range of regulatory matters in connection with data privacy and cybersecurity, antitrust and competition, as well as international trade laws in the United States, EU, and China.

Yan has significant experience assisting multinational companies navigating the rapidly-evolving Chinese cybersecurity and data privacy rules. Her work includes high-stakes compliance advice on strategic issues such as data localization and cross border data transfer, as well as data protection advice in the context of strategic transactions. She also advises leading Chinese technology companies on global data governance issues and on compliance matters in major jurisdictions such as the European Union and the United States.

Yan regularly contributes to the development of data privacy and cybersecurity rules and standards in China. She chairs Covington’s membership in two working groups of China’s National Information Security Standardization Technical Committee (“TC260”), and serves as an expert in China’s standard-setting group for Artificial Intelligence and Ethics.

Photo of Xuezi Dan Xuezi Dan

Xuezi Dan is an associate in the Beijing office of Covington and Burling LLP. Her practice focuses on data privacy and cybersecurity. Xuezi helps clients understand and navigate the increasingly complex privacy regulatory issues in China. She has worked closely with many leading…

Xuezi Dan is an associate in the Beijing office of Covington and Burling LLP. Her practice focuses on data privacy and cybersecurity. Xuezi helps clients understand and navigate the increasingly complex privacy regulatory issues in China. She has worked closely with many leading international companies on matters ranging from cross-border data transfer, data localization, data protection program, and cybersecurity regulatory compliance.

Photo of Nicholas Shepherd Nicholas Shepherd

Nicholas Shepherd is an associate in Covington’s Washington, DC office, where he is a member of the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group, advising clients on compliance with all aspects of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ePrivacy Directive, European direct marketing…

Nicholas Shepherd is an associate in Covington’s Washington, DC office, where he is a member of the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group, advising clients on compliance with all aspects of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ePrivacy Directive, European direct marketing laws, and other privacy and cybersecurity laws worldwide. Nick counsels on topics that include adtech, anonymization, children’s privacy, cross-border transfer restrictions, and much more, providing advice tailored to product- and service-specific contexts to help clients apply a risk-based approach in addressing requirements in relation to transparency, consent, lawful processing, data sharing, and others.

A U.S.-trained and qualified lawyer with 7 years of working experience in Europe, Nick leverages his multi-faceted legal background and international experience to provide clear and pragmatic advice to help organizations address their privacy compliance obligations across jurisdictions.

Nicholas is a member of the Bar of Texas and Brussels Bar (Dutch Section, B-List). District of Columbia bar application pending; supervised by principals of the firm.