On December 31, 2020, the SCLA 2020 Global Leaders Dialogue and New Year’s Eve Dinner Event was held in Shenzhen. The event was organized by SCLA and co-organized by Beijing Yingke (Shenzhen) Law Firm and KKG (Kubas Kos Galkowski) Law Firm. The event attracted lawyers, senior legal practitioners, and scholars from more than 10 cities and over 100 legal leaders online from more than 30 countries and regions. The forum was moderated by Swiss-Chinese Law Association (SCLA) Managing Director Zhang Tianze.
Tang Xiaobing, the senior counselor of the World Trade Organization’s Market Access Division, delivered a keynote speech on “World Trade Review 2020 and Economic Outlook 2021”. He pointed out that data showed that global trade volume in goods declined by 8.2% year-on-year in the first three quarters of 2020. In addition, the recent rebound of the epidemic in some regions may impact trade in goods in the fourth quarter, further affecting the annual performance. Although the global trade situation has not yet rebounded, China’s trade has recovered strongly. The trade rebound has been accelerated by the close contact between Chinese and foreign trade enterprises through the platform built by digital technology. In 2021, although the world economy will still be full of substantial downward pressure and challenges, it is still full of opportunities, and Chinese enterprises should seek opportunities amidst uncertainty. Counsellor Tang Xiaobing expressed his gratitude to the Swiss-Chinese Law Association for organizing this cross-year dialogue. As foreign legal practitioners and a practitioner of multilateral commercial diplomacy, we must be good at exploring and finding new opportunities in the midst of challenges and seeking more and more significant development.
In the speech session, Mr. Tan Ling Xin, Vice Chairman of Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), said that it was a great honor to be invited by SCLA to participate in this event. In the new year, affected by the epidemic, Internet arbitration and digital arbitration have ushered in unprecedented development opportunities and possibilities, both challenges, and opportunities. In addition, China has made significant contributions to energy saving and emission reduction and promoted globalization in the past year. Richard Thurston, former Senior Vice President and Legal Counsel of TSMC, noted that the world’s rule of law is at a crossroads and has been studying the rule of law in China since 1984 during his close involvement with the Center for American and International Law (CAIL) and the International Intellectual Property Commercialization Committee (IIPCC). As a result, in the past year, the rule of law in China has been brought into line with the world by better standards.
Dominik Galkowski, the managing partner from KKG (Kubas Kos Galkowski), pointed out that in times of change, the best way to manage a law firm is to try to combine tradition and modernity, to pay attention to details but not to forget the big picture, and to be locally based but open to global cooperation. Even though social distance should continue to be implemented, communication with the world should not stop, said Li Jingwu, a global partner at Beijing Yingke Law Firm. In November this year, China and 10 ASEAN countries and other countries officially signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP Agreement). as the world’s largest free trade area today, the signing of the agreement with its countries in the region to achieve a high level of open trade in goods, services and investment, greatly enhance the level of regional trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. Li Libin, a partner of Zhonglun Law Firm and a representative of the Swiss China Law Association, reviewed 2020 with 23 keywords, such as the significant increase of corporate bankruptcy business in 2020, which will put a greater demand for law firms and lawyers with bankruptcy administrator qualifications. The promulgation of the Civil Code also requires legal professionals to keep learning and keep up with the times.
In the Capital Market Roundtable session, Li Libin, a partner of Zhonglun Law Firm and director of the Digital Passage Research Center of the Swiss-Chinese Law Association, was the moderator. Li Haiping, Chairman of CNBM Shenzhen Group Corporation, Yan Penghe, a senior partner of Beijing Zhong Yin Law Firm, Yu Jiaqi, a partner of Llinks Law Office; and Zhang Shiwei, a partner of Zhong Lun Law Firm, were the roundtable discussants on China and they discussed the world capital market in 2021. China’s capital market reform is about the dialectical unity of reform, development, and stability. National resources are expected to focus on new infrastructure, 5G applications, information technology application innovation, smart cities, new energy vehicles, and a series of “neck” technologies, such as semiconductors, aero engines, high-end CNC machine tools, etc. It relies heavily on imports. Import-dependent fields will be the direction of continued policy attention, and will also be the direction of capital attention, and may also be the direction of future investment opportunities. In addition, foreign investment will also be further open to China’s capital market.
The dispute resolution roundtable was moderated by Hermann Knott, a partner of Kunz Law Firm, with Philip Hacket, a barrister at the 36 Group, Peter J. Pettibone, a former executive partner of Huo & Luwei, Pawel Sikora, a founding partner of KG Law Firm, and Chen Jian, deputy secretary of the China Arbitration Law Institute. Peter J. Pettibone, former partner of Hogan Lovells, Pawel Sikora, founding partner of KKG Law Firm, and Chen Jian, Deputy Secretary of the China Academy of Arbitration Law, were the panelists. The roundtable discussed the trends in dispute resolution in 2020, especially the opportunities and challenges in online arbitration and online mediation. The panelists discussed the advantages of online dispute resolution in terms of lower costs and pointed out the challenges of data security and enforcement of awards. The roundtable also compared the advantages and disadvantages of institutional and non-institutional arbitration. In 2021, mediation will become more popular as a dispute resolution mechanism. In particular, the hybrid model of “arbitration-mediation” or “mediation-arbitration” will breathe new life into dispute resolution globally.
In the roundtable on law firm management and social responsibility, Zhou Jingping, a Dacheng Law Firm senior partner, was the moderator. Gao Tian, Director of Allbright (Shenzhen) Law Office; Zhang Jian, Director of Shenzhen Office of Dacheng Law Firm; Liao Mingxia, Partner of Beijing Deheng (Shenzhen) Law Firm, and Chang Bao, Director of WDO Law Firm, were the guests of the roundtable. The roundtable discussed the changes in legal services due to economic globalization, the process of “going out” of Chinese enterprises, and the increase of China’s voice in the global economy over the years, which inevitably requires Chinese law firms to follow the trend and conform to the wave of the “going out” era. The internationalization of China’s law firms has become a major trend. With the rapid development of China’s economy, more and more law firms are expanding rapidly and laying out nationwide. It seems that the scale of law firms has become an unstoppable trend. We can see that under the influence of the epidemic, the expansion of domestic law firms due to the integration of resources and platforms is not inhibited but accelerated. Under this trend, law firms should seek to grow in scale while also addressing risk control and professional development to achieve the goal of long-term law firm development and to take the lead in advocating social responsibility and commitment of law firms.
The Intellectual Property and Trade, Secret Protection Roundtable, was moderated by Zhang Shengjie, Counsel of Beijing Yingke (Shenzhen) Law Firm, with Tan Jinsong, Director of Foreign-related Legal Affairs Department of Beijing Yingke (Shenzhen) Law Firm, Shi Lei, Senior Legal Director of OPPO, and Xie Yilin, Foreign-related Litigation Attorney of ZTE Intellectual Property Department, as guests. The roundtable discussed the issues of information compliance and ethical constraints for Chinese companies going overseas in the global value chain and extraterritorial collaboration of laws. How to protect third-party trade secrets in corporate practice? The protection of trade secrets in employee onboarding, consultant cooperation, external cooperation, non-disclosure agreements, personnel presence, competitive research, reverse engineering, etc. They should be gradually taken seriously, especially for Chinese enterprises going global, which should slowly build up the protection mechanism of trade secrets.
The countdoThe countdown dinner, which was attended by all, ushered in a promising 2021 and brought the SCLA 2020 Global Legal Leaders Dialogue and New Year’s Eve Countdown Dinner to a successful conclusion.