NJSBA and Hill Wallack Attorneys Host Delegation from China

Posted by on Nov 17, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Professors from China met with New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) staff and members from APALA-NJ recently to discuss efforts to preserve judicial independence and promote fairness and access to the justice system.

Sharon Balsamo, NJSBA assistant executive director and general counsel, welcomed the group of about 25 professors from the Henan Academy of Governance and explained how the NJSBA educates its members and the public, works with government on issues of concern, and gives NJSBA members a forum to have a voice on issues—all efforts to promote access to justice.

Lisa Spiegel, senior managing director of continuing legal education programs, explained that the NJSBA provides education to all areas of the New Jersey court system, from the state Supreme Court down to the municipal courts. And Director of Government Affairs Lisa Chapland discussed how the NJSBA advocates for positions of legislative interest to the association and presented an overview of the Legislature and how laws are made.

Members of the Chinese group asked numerous questions, including the size and population of New Jersey, how attorneys are licensed, the number of bills introduced annually in the Legislature and details about how matters such as manslaughter are handled in the courts.

APALA-NJ member Moly Hung offered insights based on his experience as a municipal court judge. “The caseload for municipal court depends on the population and in a town of 80,000 people, a judge can hear 250-300 cases in one session,” he said. “Cases move very quickly and you have to make quick decisions. If someone wants a trial, you do it then and there, unless you move it.”

The meeting was arranged through the U.S.-China Business Training Center. Based in California, the center is a China State Administration of Foreign Affairs-certified provider of professional training programs for Chinese officials, industry professionals and business executives. APALA-NJ members and Hill Wallack attorneys, Henry Chou and Kun Zhao, attended the event.

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Hill Wallack Attorneys Attend International Business Opportunities Conference

Posted by on Nov 4, 2015 in Direct Investment from China, Import-Export Issues, International Trade |

On October 13, 2015, Henry Chou and Kun Zhao, attorneys in Hill Wallack LLP’s Princeton office, attended the International Business Opportunities Conference (IBOC) at The College of New Jersey.  The event was organized by the MIDJersey Center for Economic Development (MIDCED), a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering and accelerating growth in central New Jersey.  The IBOC focused on gathering international trade experts, business leaders and state officials to explore the fundamentals of exporting regional business products and services to strategic global markets, and Messrs. Chou and Zhao discussed their experiences in international transactions with the participants.  The program agenda is available at MIDCED’s website.

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Hill Wallack LLP Partner Henry Chou Speaks At International Business Opportunities Conference

Posted by on Sep 25, 2014 in International Trade |

Princeton, NJ September 15, 2014 — On Wednesday, September 10, 2014, Henry Chou, a partner in Hill Wallack LLP’s Princeton office, spoke at the International Business Opportunities Conference (IBOC). The conference, which was held at Forsgate Country Club in Monroe, New Jersey, was organized by the MIDJersey Center for Economic Development (MIDCED), a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering and accelerating growth in central New Jersey.

The IBOC focused on gathering international trade experts, business leaders and state officials to explore the fundamentals of exporting regional business products and services to strategic global markets. Mr. Chou spoke on the panel “Hottest Export Markets for New Business” where he discussed his experience representing U.S. companies investing in China. He gave an overview of U.S. foreign direct investment in China, the advantages of investing in China and the government approval process. Mr. Chou also discussed concrete examples of how local businesses based in Mercer and Middlesex Counties have successfully ventured across the Pacific.

The panel was moderated by Eddy S. Mayen, a State Department official who oversees the state’s international business strategy. Additional panel members included The Honorable Christian Rodriguez (Consul General, Colombia), The Honorable Ghafur Dharmaputra (Consul General, Indonesia), The Honorable George Monyemangene (Consul General, South Africa), Vered Nohi-Becker (Executive Director, Philadelphia-Israeli Chamber of Commerce), and William R. Healey (Senior Vice President, Altman Group).

The keynote speakers of the conference were Richard H. Bagger, a senior executive at Celgene, and New Jersey State Senate President, Stephen Sweeney. IBOC also featured two other panels, “Exporting: A Plan of Action,” moderated by BioNJ CEO Debbie Hart, and “Exporting: Success Stories,” moderated by Minister-Counselor Richard Steffens, who serves in the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, Canada.

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Federal Appeals Court Reverses CFIUS Veto of Chinese Investment in U.S. Wind Farms

Posted by on Aug 7, 2014 in Direct Investment from China, Renewable Energy and Sustainability |

By: Henry T. Chou, Esq.

Ralls Corp – a Chinese-owned renewable energy company – has won a significant victory over the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), the interagency government body responsible for reviewing national security concerns implicated by “transactions that could result in control of a U.S. business by a foreign person.”

CFIUS, which is a part of the executive branch and is directly supervised by the President, has broad power to veto all or parts of international transactions involving the acquisition of U.S. businesses by foreign entities. In 2012, President Obama, relying on CFIUS’ advice, signed an order blocking Ralls Corp from acquiring wind farms in Oregon, citing a threat to national security based on the proximity of the wind farms to a U.S. Navy weapons training facility. The order stated that “there is credible evidence” indicating that Ralls Corp and its owners “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” even though it provided no actual evidence of such threats.

Ralls Corp filed suit, claiming that its due process rights had been violated because President Obama’ order offered no “evidence or explanation” for its decision and that Ralls Corp had not been given an opportunity to respond to the administration’s concerns. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has now ruled in favor of Ralls Corp, finding that due process requires foreign companies to be given access to unclassified evidence used in the decision-making process, as well an opportunity to rebut that evidence.

Historically, the courts have granted broad discretion to the executive branch concerning national security matters. Using its broad discretion, CFIUS has heavily scrutinized business transactions involving Chinese companies in recent years, including a prolonged review of Shuanghui International’s bid to acquire Smithfield Foods in 2013. The Smithfield transaction, which CFIUS ultimately approved after a long delay, prompted concerns that political considerations, rather than national security concerns, was the driver of CFIUS decisions. The circus involving the Smithfield transaction, including Congressional hearings on whether Chinese control of pork supplies posed a threat to national security, sparked complaints of discrimination by many.

Until now, foreign companies seemed to have little recourse against decisions by CFIUS. Moving forward, the Ralls Corp decision should have the effect of eliminating political and other arbitrary considerations from CFIUS’ decision-making process. The decision is likely to stimulate Chinese investment in more U.S. industries, including hi-tech sectors that Chinese companies have previously avoided due to CFIUS concerns.

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U.S. International Trade Commission Approves Anti-Dumping Probe of Chinese Steel Wire Rod Imports

Posted by on May 14, 2014 in Import-Export Issues, International Trade |

By Henry T. Chou, Esq.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) has decided that there is “a reasonable indication” that carbon and alloy steel wire imported from China could materially injure a U.S. industry, clearing the way for the U.S. Department of Commerce to continue its investigation into the imports.

Steel producers in the U.S. have long complained about imports of cheap Chinese wire rod, which is used for nails, fencing, barbed wire and rope. Imports of these products from China rose from 144 tons in 2011 to over 614,000 tons in 2013, valued at $313 million.

Earlier this year, a coalition of major U.S. steel producers, including ArcelorMittal USA, Nucor Corporation, Charter Steel, Evraz Rocky Mountain Steel and Gerdau Ameristeel filed a petition, alleging that Chinese steel wire rod is sold between 99.32 and 110.25 percent below their fair market value in the U.S. and that their manufacturers receive inappropriate levels of subsidies from the Chinese government.

The Commerce Department’s investigation will culminate in a determination concerning the level of improper Chinese subsidies by June 30, 2014 and a determination on the level of anti-dumping duties to be imposed on such imports by July 10, 2014.

This case is deemed to be a “game changer” for the domestic market, and the looming threat of anti-dumping subsidies has already caused Chinese producers to retract offers made to U.S. importers in February and March 2014 over fears that retroactive duties could be applied to imports. In response, Beijing has urged Washington to avoid protectionism and to work with China to maintain a free and open trade environment.

Anti-dumping investigations of Chinese imports have been on the rise in recent years and are spreading to industries and sectors that previously escaped notice. Importers of products manufactured in China should be vigilant of decisions that may drastically alter the duties and penalties associated with their imports. Staying informed of such matters will help importers to plan ahead and avoid costly import duties.

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