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China's Chongqing Explorates New Models of Foreign-Related Legal Services

By JIEYU WANGICHONGQING|Jun 02,2021

Chongqing’s case of exploring new models of foreign-related legal services has been incorporated in the first batch of reform experiment achievements since China’s pilot program of comprehensively deepening innovation and development of trade in services was launched one year ago.

It aims to further give play to the exemplary and leading role of the trailblazers and continue to release the dividends of the pilot mechanism.

The ZHH legal forum on outbound investment. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

In August 2020, the State Council approved in a formal reply to implement a pilot program of comprehensively deepening innovation and development of trade in services, which expanded to 28 regions across the country, including the main metropolitan area of Chongqing, according to the Chongqing Municipal Commission of Commerce. Chongqing’s pilot program implementation plan proposes 160 work measures in eight aspects, such as expanding the opening up of the service sector, improving the level of facilitation, refining the regulatory model, and optimizing the policy system.

New models from four aspects

For the purpose of pooling foreign-related legal service resources, the city has explored ways and mechanisms for closer business cooperation between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong and Macao law firms and between Chinese and foreign law firms in recent years. Chongqing has explored new models from the following four aspects.

Two-way opening-up: going global and bringing in. Zhonghao Law Firm and Solton & Partners ranked in China’s top 100 most influential foreign-related law firms.  

Diverse dispute resolution mechanisms of foreign-related legal services + notarization, arbitration, and mediation. For example, efforts are made to push forward with the pilot of the cooperative notary system and accelerate the cultivation of notary organizations with brand advantages.

Full-chain and integrated services: accompanying, follow-up, and escorting. Support is given to establishing a foreign-related legal service center for the Belt and Road Initiative to provide enterprises with diversified services in foreign-related laws, international business, and other aspects and guard against overseas investment and trade risks.

Development model of the foreign-related legal talent cluster. A local talent pool of foreign-related lawyers has been set up, and outstanding lawyers are recommended to join the national talent pool of foreign-related lawyers.

Next, Chongqing will coordinate the pilot program of comprehensively deepening innovation and development of trade in services with the comprehensive pilot of expanding opening-up of the service industry, make full use of the opportunities of further opening up after the coming entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, facilitate the further opening-up in such fields as finance, logistics, commercial services, sci-tech services, education, and medical care, foster a number of services trade brands, meet the demand of people for a high-quality life, and contribute to the high-quality development of the industries in the city.

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