By: William S. Dodge & Wenliang Zhang
The conventional wisdom is that China and the United States do not recognize each other’s court judgments. But this is changing. A US court first recognized a Chinese judgment in 2009, and a Chinese court first reciprocated in 2017. This Article provides an overview of the enforcement of US judgments in China and Chinese judgments in the United States, noting the similarities and differences in the two countries’ systems. In China, rules for the enforcement of foreign judgments are established at the national level and require reciprocity. In the United States, rules for the enforcement of foreign judgments are established at the state level and generally do not require reciprocity.
This Article also looks at possibilities for future cooperation in the enforcement of foreign judgments, through a bilateral treaty, a multilateral convention, and the application of domestic law. It concludes that progress in the recognition and enforcement of China– US judgments is most likely to come from continued judicial practice under existing rules and from China’s shifting approach to reciprocity.