Shang­hai pushes cross-bor­der le­gal ser­vices

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By LIN SHUJUAN in Shang­hai lin­shu­juan@chi­

Shang­hai’s Bureau of Jus­tice and the Shang­hai Bar As­so­ci­a­tion jointly set up a le­gal ser­vices cen­ter on Wed­nes­day for the first China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo to be held in the city in Novem­ber. It’s part of the city’s ef­fort to im­prove cross-bor­der le­gal ser­vices and be­come a global city of ex­cel­lence by 2035.

The cen­ter will of­fer com­pre­hen­sive le­gal ser­vices in­volv­ing over­seas par­ties for the inau­gu­ral expo in ar­eas such as fi­nance, ship­ping and in­ter­na­tional trade, said Wang Xie, deputy di­rec­tor of the bureau at the launch cer­e­mony, which was held on the cam­pus of Shang­hai Univer­sity of In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness and Eco­nom­ics.

A team of 20 hand­picked at­tor­neys who ex­cel in cross­bor­der le­gal ser­vices will be sta­tioned at the Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion and Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­ter, where the six-day event un­folds from Nov 5 to 10, Wang said.

Zhou Tian­ping, head of the team, said that by ser­vic­ing the expo, which will at­tract more than 2,800 ex­hibitors from more than 130 coun­tries and re­gions, the team hopes to ex­plore the de­mand for cross-bor­der le­gal ser­vices, set an ex­am­ple for of­fer­ing such ser­vices and stan­dard­ize the prac­tice.

“The team will serve as trail­blaz­ers for the stan­dard­iza­tion of le­gal ser­vices in­volv­ing over­seas par­ties,” Zhou said. “Based on their feed­back and ex­pe­ri­ence at the expo, we hope to ex­pand the ser­vice af­ter­ward by train­ing sev­eral hun­dred at­tor­neys and their law firms.”

Three other ser­vice cen­ters — Shang­hai As­so­ci­a­tion for Cor­po­rate Com­pli­ance, Shang­hai Joint Train­ing Cen­ter for Cross-Bor­der Busi­ness Law and the Re­search Cen­ter for Le­gal Prac­tices on In­ter­na­tional Fi­nance and Trade — were also launched on Wed­nes­day.

“The es­tab­lish­ment of the cen­ters marks an­other step for­ward for Shang­hai’s cross­bor­der le­gal ser­vices,” Zhang Hua, a se­nior Party of­fi­cial in­volved in the city’s po­lit­i­cal and leg­isla­tive af­fairs, said at the launch cer­e­mony.

Shang­hai has been a pi­o­neer in le­gal prac­tices re­lated to in­ter­na­tional busi­ness, fi­nance and trade. In 2014 it be­came the only city in the coun­try to al­low a lo­cal law firm and a for­eign one to ex­change le­gal ad­vis­ers in the China (Shang­hai) Pi­lot Free Trade Zone, ac­cord­ing to the jus­tice bureau, which has put for­ward var­i­ous mea­sures to en­cour­age do­mes­tic law firms to fur­ther co­op­er­ate with firms from over­seas — for ex­am­ple, al­low­ing them to em­ploy for­eign at­tor­neys — as the east­ern me­trop­o­lis aims to boost sup­port for over­seas in­vestors.

More than 50 do­mes­tic law firms that have of­fices in Shang­hai have also es­tab­lished branches over­seas, the bureau said.

“Cross-bor­der le­gal ser­vices have a his­toric op­por­tu­nity for de­vel­op­ment in Shang­hai be­cause the city is ded­i­cated to the task of be­com­ing a global city of ex­cel­lence by 2035,” Zhang said.

As the city strives to en­hance its core func­tions and ac­cel­er­ate the con­struc­tion of five cen­ters — an in­ter­na­tional eco­nomic cen­ter, a fi­nan­cial cen­ter, a trade cen­ter, a ship­ping cen­ter and a science and tech­nol­ogy in­no­va­tion cen­ter — it cre­ates a vast de­mand for cross-bor­der le­gal ser­vices. “But the chal­lenges are as enor­mous,” Zhang said.

Ac­cord­ing to the jus­tice bureau, the city gen­er­ated an­nual rev­enue of 3.5 bil­lion yuan ($509 mil­lion) from cross-bor­der le­gal ser­vices in 2017, ac­count­ing for 20 per­cent of its to­tal le­gal ser­vices rev­enues. By com­par­i­son, only about 1 per­cent of the city’s 240,000-strong pop­u­la­tion of lawyers is ca­pa­ble of of­fer­ing cross-bor­der le­gal ser­vices.

The city sees the inau­gu­ral expo as a good plat­form for ad­vanc­ing the ser­vices.

“We hope to build on our ob­ser­va­tions and ex­pe­ri­ence at the expo to set a stan­dard for le­gal ser­vices in­volv­ing over­seas par­ties,” said Zhou, head the le­gal ser­vice team for the expo.


En­thu­si­asts of tra­di­tional Chi­nese dresses, known as qi­pao, from China and for­eign coun­tries pose on the shore of West Lake in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, on Wed­nes­day. The Hangzhou Global Qi­pao Fes­ti­val opened in the lake’s Changqiao Park and 160 qi­pao lovers, dressed in cus­tom-tai­lored clothes, dis­played the charm of the silk cul­ture.

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