Loyalty to law

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China has entered its Year of the Dog, an animal in the Chinese zodiac that is widely seen as a symbol of loyalty, and in this lunar year, remaining “loyal” to legal requirements seems to be the most important principle for businesses activities in China as the compliance burden increases.

CoverThe amended version of China’s Anti-unfair Competition Law, which overhauled the decades-old previous version, took effect at the start of 2018. The updated law redefines unfair competition and imposes heavier penalties. Employers should be more alert because their employee’s bribery behaviour may be seen as theirs as well.

Antitrust regulators in China have been stepping up their investigation and enforcement efforts, and have also kept communicating with their counterparts in other jurisdictions. In the meantime, companies are increasingly active in instituting private antitrust litigations in the Chinese courts. A further increase in high-profile litigations and investigations this year is anticipated by many legal experts.

The central government is also placing ever more emphasis on environmental improvement and data privacy.

China started a new environment protection tax mechanism at the beginning of 2018.

The Cybersecurity Law, which took effect in June 2017, can influence a wide range of business activities but still awaits more detailed rules for implementation.

Dancing in unison explores key compliance issues that companies need to be wary of in the new year. It is a must-read, with useful expert suggestions on how corporate counsel can build effective internal compliance management and training systems.

In The big picture, we have an exclusive interview with Miguel de Serpa Soares, the under-secretary-general for legal affairs and United Nations legal counsel. In this article, the top UN legal figure shares his insights at a macro level, giving his views on a gamut of topics from the Belt and Road initiative to the importance of international arbitration and UNCITRAL’s role in Asia-Pacific. He also explains his legal team’s structure and operation.

This issue also features our annual China Business Law Awards, which are granted to both Chinese and foreign law firms that have had the strongest performance in the past year. Picking winners from so many prominent law firms is always a difficult task. China Business Law Journal relies on nominations and comments mostly from corporate counsel and managers, while other significant elements, such as the law firms’ landmark deals or cases and internal development, were also considered. We extend our sincere congratulations to all the winners!