Best wishes for 2017

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The big surprises that Britain and the US gave to the world in 2016 signal a growing resentment towards globalization. The hesitation, or even clear refusal, to recognize China as a “market economy” shows how the world’s second-biggest economy can be one of the first victims of this trend. Many pray for better – or less worse – in 2017.

Antitrust compliance, a key issue for companies with global visions, has become more important as the protectionist sentiment in developed economies implies the possibility of tighter regulatory grips across the world. The heat is on reveals that US regulators have seemingly become more rigorous towards mergers in the past year. In the EU, the regulatory approach adopted by the European Commission in assessing a deal between China General Nuclear Power Corporation and EDF means Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) may need to consider the turnover of other SOEs in the same sector. Chinese companies may face more antitrust challenges in future overseas acquisitions.

CBLJ 1612 PrologueIn China, the pace has quickened on improving the country’s eight-year-old antitrust regime. In 2016, authorities consulted public opinions on six draft guidelines with the aim of clarifying uncertainties in the current regime. Foreign investors should also note that antitrust decisions made by Chinese regulators may differ from those made in other jurisdictions.

But in general, China has loosened its regulatory control of foreign investment. The country’s top legislature has approved a decision to amend four laws related to inbound investment from non-mainland investors. Effective from 1 October 2016, the decision has transformed foreign investment regulation from an approval-based system to a record-filing regime. In One step forward, Peter Zhang, an experienced corporate counsel in a foreign-invested company, analyzes the practical implications of the new recording-filing system from an in-house perspective.

This issue also includes our annual award coverage for Deals of the year. Despite the anti-globalization trend, Chinese companies have made many acquisitions and investments abroad that are well worth our accolades. Whether in terms of the types of companies joining in the wave of overseas investment, or the spectrum of their target businesses, Chinese outbound investment is developing by both quantity and quality.

Trade conflicts are a highlight among the awards this year, and given the rise in protectionism across the world, successful experience in such cases will be of significant value in the near future. Also among the key words for this year’s winning deals and cases are environment protection, city construction and urbanization, internet business and One Belt, One Road.

The road ahead will probably be much bumpier in the next few years but don’t forget China, and the world, have overcome much worse difficulties than this.

Here at China Business law Journal, we have the confidence to wish all of our readers the very best for 2017!

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