Doing Business in ChinaFor years, there has been talk in China of enacting new antitrust laws, but each time enactment looks closer, it is put off. The current word is that 2006 will see such laws enacted.

The Wall Street Journal just ran a story (by subscription only) on those laws and on how they might be used against foreign companies. The article stated that foreign companies’ “most pressing concern is that the law could allow trumped-up antitrust charges to chip away at their profitable patents. That fear is based on the latest known draft of the law, which prohibits the abuse of intellectual-property rights but doesn’t describe how regulators should interpret such offenses.”

There is also a concern the new antitrust laws might be used to protect state-owned monopolies because a section from a prior draft forbidding the abuse of government power to restrict competition has been dropped.

I actually began my legal career as an antitrust lawyer at the Chicago mega-firm Kirkland & Ellis. Nonetheless, China’s proposed antitrust laws are in such a state of flux, so different from that which I am familiar, and so intricately tied in with so many governmental issues there, it is difficult to have much of an opinion. I searched the web for commentary on the latest version, but did not find anything good.

At this point, I am of the view that it is simply too early for great concern, even for those who already doing business in China in a big way. I am though looking forward to see how any new antitrust laws handle the fact that the Chinese government itself owns so many of China’s largest companies.

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Dan Harris

I am a founder of Harris Bricken, an international law firm with lawyers in Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, China and Spain.

I mostly represent companies doing business in emerging market countries. It has taken me many years to build my network and it takes constant communication and travel to maintain it. My work has been as varied as securing the release of two improperly held helicopters in Papua New Guinea, setting up a legal framework to move slag from Canada to Poland’s interior, overseeing hundreds of litigation and arbitration matters in Korea, helping someone avoid terrorism charges in Japan, and seizing fish product in China to collect on a debt.

I was named as one of only three Washington State Amazing Lawyers in International Law, I am AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory (its highest rating), I am rated 10.0 by AVVO.com (its highest rating), and I am a SuperLawyer.

I am a frequent writer and public speaker on doing business in Asia and I constantly travel between the United States and Asia. I most commonly speak on China law issues and I am the lead writer of the award winning China Law Blog (www.chinalawblog.com). Forbes Magazine, Fortune Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Business Week, The National Law Journal, The Washington Post, The ABA Journal, The Economist, Newsweek, NPR, The New York Times and Inside Counsel have all interviewed me regarding various aspects of my international law practice.

I am licensed in Washington, Illinois, and Alaska.

In tandem with the international law team at my firm, I focus on setting up/registering companies overseas (via WFOEs, Rep Offices or Joint Ventures), drafting international contracts (NDAs, OEM Agreements, licensing, distribution, etc.), protecting IP (trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights and patents), and overseeing M&A transactions.

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  • I am certainly agree with you in particularly looking forward to see how the new laws handle the fact that the Chinese government itself owns so many of China’s largest companies. Superb web site! I actually really like how it can be fast in my own eyes and the information can be well written.