International Services Group

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: An Overview for Japanese and U.S. Companies involved in Cross-Border Trade

Since the spring of 2013, representatives of the Japanese government have been negotiating with the United States and nine other governments for passage of a trade agreement between pacific nations, named the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). TPP is a large scale, multilateral trade agreement that, if passed, would govern a staggering 40 percent of the global economy, totaling $28 trillion in U.S. dollars, and would regulate roughly one third of all world trade. Indeed, if the TPP is passed, it will cover trade between 700 million people and be the biggest trade agreement since NAFTA. Current negotiations involve the governments of Japan, the United States, Australia, Brunei, Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. While all countries listed are participating in TPP talks, the clear motivator behind passage of the TPP is establishing a trade agreement between Japan and the United States; these two countries represent 80 percent of the GDP in the TPP region combined. Read More ›

New USCIS Policy Memorandum Clarifies Employers’ Obligations Before Relocating H-1B Employees

Under H-1B regulations, an employer has to notify the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of "material changes,” through the filing of an amended or new H-1B petition. However, the regulations do not explicitly explain what constitutes a material change.  Employers have generally relied on prior guidance from USCIS, which indicated that moving an H-1B employee to a new worksite did not constitute a material change if a new Labor Condition Application (LCA) was in place for the new worksite before the move.  In April 2015, the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) issued a precedent decision, Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC (Simeio),on this issue. Now, as a result of this decision, USCIS has reversed itself and has issued a new policy memorandum on the actions needed before an employee is relocated. Read More ›

Employer Slapped With $600,000 Fine For I-9 Violations

An administrative judge recently handed down a stunning $605,250 fine against an employer for improperly completing its I-9s. The decision, U.S. v. Hartmann Studios, Inc. (OCAHO Case No. 14A00008, July 15, 2015), serves as a reminder that employers need to be taking I-9 compliance as seriously as the government, and that preventative measures such as extensive training and self-audits can help companies avoid the government’s crosshairs. Read More ›

China stakes its claim on regulating Internet Advertising - Draft rules issued –

On July 1, 2015, China issued Interim Measures for Internet Advertising Supervision and Management, with a deadline of July 30 for public comment. Read More ›

Foreign Direct Investment Becomes Easier – SAFE Circular 13

In February 2015, China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) simplified procedures for foreign investors in certain respects.  This is another step forward in making foreign direct investment into China less time consuming and bureaucratic.  The two most important measures were these: 

  •  Revocation of foreign exchange registration with SAFE – this can now be accomplished directly with qualified banks.  SAFE will take on an indirect supervisory role through its supervision of FDI-related foreign exchange of the banking sector.  How this will unfold in practice remains to be seen, so watch for the implementation of CXircular 13 to commence on June 1.
  •  Revocation of the registration requirement to confirm a foreign investor’s investment when it acquires an equity interest owned by a Chinese party  - this relates to both cash and non-monetary forms of acquisition.  The practical effect should be to provide more flexibility to contracting parties in the timing and price adjustments possible for acquisitions of interests of Chinese equity holders by foreign purchasers.
Read More ›

The Moving Target of Foreign Investment in China

Foreign investment projects in the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) are approved on a case-by-case basis. The approval is principally driven by the “Three Laws on Foreign Investments”: the Sino-Foreign Equity Joint Venture Enterprise Law (“Equity Joint Venture Law”), the Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise Law (“WOFE Law”), and the Sino-Foreign Cooperative Joint Venture Enterprise Law (“Cooperative Joint Venture Law”). Read More ›


The China Council for the Promotion of International Trade/China Chamber of International Commerce (or “CIETAC”), a leading arbitral body in China, recently amended its Arbitration Rules.  While some of the amendments and additions are relatively minor, the changes provide for several new options to parties who use CIETAC for arbitration. Read More ›

China’s “Golden Age” Investment Opportunity

China’s healthcare market is expected to grow from $357 billion in 2011 to $1 trillion by 2020 according to McKinsey & Company. This makes China the most attractive healthcare market in the world. Specifically, attention should be paid to China’s elder care sector. According to the CIA’s World Factbook, more than 280 million people in China are 55 and older. The United Nations estimated that by 2025 there will be 64 elderly retired people in China for every 100 workers, whereas only 33 retirees for every 100 workers by 2050 is projected for the United States. Given how much of a challenge it is even for a developed economy like the United States to handle its elder care, China’s problem is entirely on a different scale. Read More ›

The Medical Devices Market in China

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, China is now the world’s second largest market for medical equipment. According to the Hong Kong Trade and Development Council (HKTDC), the Chinese medical device market was worth about $34.51 billion in 2013. The annual growth rate of China’s medical device market has been between 15% and 20% depending on the product sector. The major driving forces behind this growth include increasing demand for healthcare services due to improved and complete coverage for Chinese nationals and the increasing aging population in China. Hospitals are major distribution portals for medical devices accounting for more than 75% of the market share according to the HKTDC. Medical device makers from the United States, Europe and Japan take up roughly three-quarters of China’s medical device market. This is mostly because Chinese consumers consider foreign products better in quality and are technologically advanced. To no one’s surprise, China has been speeding up the development of its own medical device industry and promoting domestic products in its recent “Buy China” efforts. Read More ›

The Changing Labyrinth of China’s e-Commerce - New Requirements of an Online Standard Terms Agreement

China is transitioning from a manufacturing-based economy to a more service and consumption-driven economy. E-commerce is at the center of this transition and it is growing at a rapid pace. In 1995, there were approximately 60,000 Internet users in China. Today, the Boston Consulting Group predicts China’s Internet population will reach 730 million in the next two years and its online shopping headcount is expected to reach 380 million. The value of China’s e-commerce market is also astonishing. By 2015, KPMG estimates China’s e-commerce transactions to reach $540 billion. Read More ›

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Attorney Spotlight

Joseph J. Dehner Joe Dehner concentrates his practice on multinational business and securities disputes. He counsels a wide variety of companies, domestic and foreign, on issues confronting global business, including transnational investment, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, customs and trade issues, international business structures, distribution and agency agreements and the resolution of international disputes.