New challenges

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The landscape of global economics and politics underwent surprising upheavals in 2016 and it may continue to evolve in the Chinese Year of the Rooster.

CBLJ1702_Cover2017 is very likely to be another tough year for corporate counsel. The British parliament gave the green light to the start of Brexit and the government seems to favour a full break-up. Donald Trump showed his imprudence in using executive orders and continues to be a hardline protectionist. And upcoming elections in other major Western countries may produce more surprises.

The global business climate is overshadowed by uncertainty. That’s why the audience at the Davos forum in January burst into applause when Chinese President Xi Jinping affirmed that China will not stand against globalization.

China has made the landmark decision to transform the regulation of foreign direct investment from an approval-based system to a new, much simpler one based on record filing. But the burden of compliance remains. Many corporate counsel point to the collection and use of data as one of their major focuses in 2017. Besides, the tightened supply of foreign exchange may set up a practical barrier to some outbound investments. New dawn reveals the concerns of in-house counsel, from domestic and foreign companies, in this increasingly challenging environment, and explores the recipe for making a good corporate counsel.

While co-operation in investment and trade is uncertain, global collaboration on tax information exchange is gathering momentum. The Common Reporting Standard (CRS), initiated by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, took effect in China at the start of 2017. According to its implementation schedule, the central government should have full access to Chinese tax residents’ financial account information, in more than 100 countries and regions, after the third quarter of 2018.

Greater tax connection analyzes various aspects of the common reporting standard (CRS) that require particular attention, from the perspective of an enterprise, an individual and the CRS mechanism itself. The article explores how the current developments and trends in the global practice of tax information exchange may help shape the CRS system, and some challenges in its implementation. The article also highlights some issues that may not have raised much awareness but can cause big problems.

This issue also features our China Business Law Awards. The special coverage of the awards announces the law firms that have had the strongest performances, as recognized by their clients. Picking among so many prominent law firms is always a difficult task. We rely on nominations and comments mostly from corporate counsel and managers, while other significant elements, such as landmark deals and internal development, were also considered. Congratulations to the winners.

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