China and Argentina sign pact to fight cross-border crimes

Updated: 2014-05-05 05:07

By AN BAIJIE in Beijing (China Daily Latin America)

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China's top legislature has ratified a treaty with Argentina on mutual judicial assistance in criminal affairs.

The treaty, signed in Buenos Aires by the foreign ministers of the two countries in June of 2012, was approved by the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress on April 24, after being reviewed during the top legislature's bi-monthly session.

Li Baodong, China's vice-foreign minister, said that the treaty will help promote cooperation between the two countries in judicial fields, as well as bilateral ties.

The demand for judicial cooperation between China and Argentina has been increasing in recent years, with foreign affairs authorities of the two countries tackling more than ten requests for judicial cooperation every year, Li said on April 21 while delivering a report to the NPC Standing Committee.

The State Council, China's cabinet, had reviewed the treaty and agreed that it was in line with China's basic legal principles and judicial practice, he added.

The treaty is aimed at jointly fighting crimes related to the two countries, he said.

The 24-article treaty covers issues such as the scope of application and restrictions of such assistance, rules on lodging requests for judicial assistance and dispute resolution.

According to the treaty, both sides should provide assistance when requested in investigations, prosecutions and lawsuits against crimes related to taxation, customs, foreign exchange and other violations of financial and tax laws.

Judicial assistance requests can be rejected if the alleged activities are legal in the requested country, according to the treaty.

It also rules that if the requested country thinks that the allegations are related to political crimes, it can refuse to offer assistance.

If a suspect is being investigated or sued in the requesting country, the requested side shall provide the suspect's criminal record.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of a China-Argentina strategic partnership.

China views China-Argentina relations from a strategic and long-term perspective, and stands ready to work with Argentina in maintaining high-level exchanges and deepening strategic communication, said Wang Yi, China's foreign minister.

Wang made the remarks on April 23 while meeting with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner at the Pink House in Buenos Aires.

It is hoped that both sides can translate high-level political relations into practical cooperation and promote mutually beneficial outcomes in such fields as agriculture, energy, infrastructure, manufacturing, science and technology, Wang said.

Fernandez de Kirchner said that Argentina highly values its strategic partnership with China and is willing to strengthen mutual political trust and deepen cooperation in economy, trade, infrastructure, agriculture, hydroelectricity, science-technology and other fields, according to China's foreign ministry's website.

China has received about 300 judicial assistance requests annually in recent years over crimes including Internet fraud, corruption and commercial fraud, said Zhang Xiaoming, an official from the judicial assistance and foreign affairs department of the Ministry of Justice.