Rich Brubaker over at All Roads Lead to China has a post up on how the Chinese government makes its laws with its own populace in mind, not out of consideration for foreign companies. The post is entitled, “Regulations in China: Are You Prepared? Are You Ready? Are You OK?” and here is its money quote:

There is and has been a sense of entitlement in the foreign community about their contribution to China, and its economy. that because of foreigners and foreign investment, everything that has happened in China.. that without foreigners this place would flush down the drain… etc. and even if true, that does not mean that they should just bend over to the interests of foreign parties.
They have 1.4 billion people to manage, and at all times that number will trump anything else offered.

Rich is absolutely correct and his point really ought to be obvious, but it is not. I am constantly hearing from foreign businesses complaining about this or that Chinese law and then stating that China just does not understand what its laws do to foreign business. Well, the Chinese government does understand, but foreign businesses (particularly those smaller than Intel, Caterpillar and Coca-Cola) are just not one of its chief priorities.
So, as Rich says in this post, if you are a foreign business in China, you must always keep your ears to the ground regarding upcoming laws that might affect your business. Unfortunately, sometimes this works and sometimes it does not, as there have definitely been times in China where laws or regulations have come out without any real warning.
China is not without its legal risks. For more on handling China’s ever changing legal regime, check out China Law As Guessing Game.

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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.