Counsel for Companies Doing Business in China
With many years of hands-on experience handling foreign direct investment (FDI) and other business transactions in China and navigating the Chinese regulatory framework, Foley is well positioned to support all of your business and legal needs with a wide range of services.
Our multidisciplinary, industry-focused teams help you address complicated regulatory, IP, transactional, and government relations issues unique to your role in the international marketplace. Our industry experience is extensive and includes health care and life sciences, automotive, conventional and alternative renewable (solar, wind, biomass) energy, chemicals and other raw materials, agriculture and food safety, and telecommunications, among other sectors. We also have very focused experience addressing advanced manufacturing concerns, including supply chain management, sustainability, and product labeling and regulations.
China Regulatory and Government Affairs
Through representing clients as outside or in-house general counsel on regulatory matters and collaborations with local Chinese counsel in key regions, our regulatory attorneys have developed deep-rooted contacts in central and local government ministries, agencies, and affiliated institutions to help as you navigate China’s regulatory and governmental systems. More important, through decades of experience, they are thoroughly familiar with how various Chinese regulatory programs are implemented and enforced.
For instance, our regulatory attorneys monitor key legislative and regulatory developments arising from China’s People’s Congress and myriad agencies and affiliated institutions at the national and local levels. This sensitizes our team to regulatory trends and potential issues for clients, such as recent developments to enhance citizen whistleblower protections and the regulatory infrastructure supporting citizen suits. Our attorneys are experienced in and routinely advise or advocate for industry and other stakeholders on regulatory system issues that can affect company and product compliance assurance and market access, such as rulemaking and regulatory standard formulation practices and processes and meaningful notice of and access to existing laws.
Our attorneys also have extensive experience in a wide range of issues, including chemical and other raw material registration compliance; citizen group campaign and community relations legal issues; consumer protection requirements; end-of-life product refurbishment; energy efficiency; facility permitting; government procurement; labor-force health, safety, environmental, and other worker protections (including those for special classes such as female, child, migrant, and disabled workers); privacy law and related cloud-migration compliance strategies; product introduction regulatory planning, product quality, and content controls; supplier regulatory audits and risk management; and waste management regulatory issues.
We also host and serve as counsel to the China EHS Roundtable, a multi-sector manufacturer-driven forum for sharing best practices, discussing and analyzing recent developments and advocacy opportunities, and leveraging member resources to address common issues and needs in China. The members share a commitment to the advancement of compliance and sustainability leadership in China and elsewhere around the world.
Cross-Border Corporate Transactions in China
Our Transactional & Securities attorneys provide sophisticated legal advice on the issues most important to public and private companies in China or doing business in China. We are the lead international legal counsel for The Rose Rock Group, founded by members of the Rockefeller family, in its projects in China and Asia. One of our partners also sits on its board.
We also provide a broad range of services to other participants in the financial and business markets and have worked with global clients in all aspects of complex international transactions, including:
Commercial Contracts: We can assist you with the bilingual drafting and negotiating of commercial transactions involving a variety of FDI structures, including lease agreements, distributorship agreements, supply agreements, general terms and condition contracts, and technology and trademark licensing agreements.
Cross-Border M&A and Joint Ventures: Our attorneys are extremely well versed in cross-border M&A. In fact, one of our lead China attorneys is a regular presenter on the subject, including regular appearances in M&A Advisor Symposium Reports (2013 and 2014) on the subject. We will take the lead role in conducting due diligence and planning and executing negotiated M&A, as well as in structuring joint ventures and other strategic alliances, or technology-sharing arrangements.
Private Equity and Venture Capital: You will work directly with a team focused on the full range of public and private debt and equity vehicles and their investment activities, and with specific experience handling FDI in China.
International Tax Counseling and Planning: Our attorneys — skilled in tax law, executive and corporate compensation, benefits planning, and disputes with state and federal tax authorities — provide planning and tax-advantageous counseling for transactions to minimize clients’ worldwide tax liabilities.
China Trans-Boundary Trade Counseling
With extensive government enforcement, compliance, and white collar defense experience, we can help you with any export compliance, auditing, or other international trade legal issues involving movements of goods and services in and out of China, as well as investment in China. We provide skillful counsel and aggressive representation, design, and implementation of export control programs, anti-boycott compliance programs, and corporate compliance programs — including U.S. export control compliance — in a wide range of fields.
International Anti-Corruption Guidance: We offer comprehensive U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and anti-corruption advisory services — including U.S. and China compliance diagnostic services, third-party due diligence services, China-based internal investigations, and the defense of enforcement actions by regulatory authorities. Our attorneys are well-versed in the complexity of the law, along with its stepped-up prosecution in recent years, and can help address the aggressive risk assessment and compliance measures required for businesses operating in China, particularly those working through a third-party representative and dealing with a complex legal environment, including issues such as State Secret Law compliance. Should such a situation arise, Foley can assist with bribery investigations by the U.S. government, as well as parallel investigations by the Chinese government of involved Chinese citizens.
IP Protection and Enforcement in China
Experienced IP counsel is critical to successfully navigating China’s complex legal, regulatory, and cultural framework. Foley’s China Practice combines the acumen of our internationally recognized Intellectual Property Department with extensive hands-on experience in China to provide complete IP protection and enforcement strategies — a critical aspect of your business success in China.
Our China Practice attorneys are highly experienced in assisting multinational companies doing business in China as they develop strategies to protect business secrets and other IP. Additionally, the firm’s working relationships with local agents and investigation companies with varied experience allow us to provide you with high-quality, cost-effective services.
Our Automotive Industry Team helps automotive companies — from large-scale, highly recognizable international companies to emerging companies hoping to revolutionize the industry — with a variety of matters, including business/corporate transactions, distribution and franchise, dispute resolution, litigation, IP, bankruptcy, environmental, labor, recall, and other regulatory areas. We serve clients from all aspects of the automotive industry, such as manufacturers, suppliers, and dealers.
Foley’s experienced attorneys offer more than just generic corporate advice — they have the knowledge and skills to provide solutions tailored to the automotive industry. Our team includes bilingual and bicultural Chinese attorneys from a variety of legal disciplines who devote their professional practice to serving the needs of automotive industry participants. We represent clients located in, or with interests in, all of the major automotive centers throughout the United States and Europe, as well as Tokyo and Shanghai. Our attorneys provide counsel on large-scale, bet-the-company legal issues, as well as the day-to-day legal and strategy needs of automotive clients.
We also forge strong relationships with businesses and organizations in both the United States and China that bolster our ability to assist our clients. Recently, as part of our membership in The China General Chamber of Commerce — USA, Foley hosted the Annual Automotive Summit in Detroit, which featured Ambassador Zhao Weiping, Consul General — People’s Republic of China, Chicago, and discussed topics ranging from supply chain management to mergers and acquisitions.
China’s renewable energy policies continue to evolve, opening up new opportunities in the Chinese market. Foley’s Energy Industry Team attorneys offer strong experience and provide comprehensive industry services, including transactions, compliance, project finance, and facility siting, all tailored for Chinese market.
Life Sciences in China
Life sciences and biotechnology have become a top priority in research and development in China. The continued expansion and development of innovation in these sectors provides significant opportunity in China. Foley’s Life Sciences Industry Team comprises corporate, health care, regulatory, and IP attorneys who work together to provide seamless, comprehensive service to help you seize those opportunities.
A recent example of this seamless approach involves a major U.S. life sciences discovery company looking to launch its first major initiative in China, which combined ground-breaking aspects of agbiotechnology, immunology, and regenerative medicine. The effort involved not only a reorganization and formalization of an extant collaboration with a leading Chinese university, but also the formation of a wholly owned foreign entity (WOFE), slated to become the client’s R&D unit on the mainland. The Foley team successfully navigated a labyrinth of corporate, employment, tech transfer, regulatory, and patenting issues to propel the client into an area of technological development that is unique to China and new to the world at large.
This is just one example of Foley’s 360º approach to life sciences, which addresses the immediate, specific legal issues regarding doing business in China while also providing a long-term strategy that helps clients along the path to commercialization.
China and the Health Care Industry
Foley’s Health Care Industry Team was named “Law Firm of the Year — Health Care Law” for three of the past four years on the U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” list for our ability to provide a broad range of participants in the health care industry with value-added, pragmatic legal advice in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Only one firm in the country receives this recognition each year.
This positions us uniquely to be a significant participant in the Chinese government’s plans to increase health care spending, which is set to reach $1 trillion by 2020, according to global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. This means that all health care and related sectors — including biotech, hospitals, senior living, and clinics — are the focus for massive upgrades. Our Health Care Industry Team can provide you with creative legal solutions and practical industry experience, whether you are a national provider association, national hospital or health care system, medical device or pharmaceutical manufacturer, medical transportation company, or regional or local provider.
In China, we have strong experience in matters related to communicable disease testing regulatory compliance, transplant research, telemedicine, and building strategic cooperation between insurance companies and large-scale conglomerates. Our attorneys have been involved in negotiations with Chinese, U.S., European, and other parties to develop consensus to achieve market access, advocacy, sustainability, and compliance goals and to advance home-government or industry-sector understanding and support of these goals.
Cultural Fluency and Local Connections in China
Because even subtle differences in culture and business etiquette can have a significant impact on working relationships, it is important to have a real-world understanding of the complex cultural issues that arise when U.S.- and China-based companies engage in business abroad. Our bilingual and bicultural China practice attorneys have trained, lived, and worked in the United States and in China, as well as other countries around the world, so you can depend on our familiarity with local culture and customs and our fluency in the respective native language. You also will benefit from our extensive network of collaborative relationships — including strong ties to local corporate leaders, industry associations, universities, research institutes, laboratories, and government agencies in key Chinese regions, and throughout the United States.