Lawyer diplomacy

We often get emails from readers asking us to write about a particular topic. There are two topics on which our China attorneys frequently receive emails and on which we virtually never write. Proposed laws and China diplomatic meetings with foreign countries.

Just about every time there is a rumor of a major new Chinese law, one of our China lawyers will get an email from someone asking us to write about it. This happened most recently regarding the news that China would soon be requiring all computers sold within China to come with built in web filtering software.

We do not like writing about proposed Chinese laws for the following reasons:

1. There are so many laws already on the books and being enforced that need coverage more. Laws on the books will impact you right now. Proposed laws may or may not ever come into being.

2. China has a habit of saying it will institute a new law and then never doing so. It floats new laws to gauge reaction. If the reaction is negative, the law oftentimes never comes into being.

3. China has a habit of instituting new laws and then never enforcing them. This often happens when the new law is negatively received

We are thrilled our readership is so internationally diverse, but this also means our China lawyers often receive emails from people wanting us to cover their country’s diplomatic relations with China. We never do this because China is always engaging in diplomatic meetings with some country somewhere and this is not really big news. The press virtually always describes these meetings as positive and they almost always seem to end with a comment on how both countries expect increased trade and how some economic/business/aid package has been agreed to. This does not warrant analysis. This is mutual public relations. Move along.

This is not a blanket rule and we reserve the right to cover some future major China diplomatic breakthrough. But for now, we will leave these stories to others.

Are we off base here?

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Photo of Dan Harris Dan Harris

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

He primarily represents companies doing business in emerging market countries, having spent years building and maintaining a global, professional network. 

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

He primarily represents companies doing business in emerging market countries, having spent years building and maintaining a global, professional network.  His 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.

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

Dan is a frequent writer and public speaker on doing business in Asia and constantly travels between the United States and Asia. He most commonly speaks on China law issues and is the lead writer of the award winning China Law Blog. 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 Dan regarding various aspects of his international law practice.

Dan is licensed in Washington, Illinois, and Alaska.

In tandem with the international law team at his firm, Dan focuses 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.