Legal services cooperation offers support for B&R construction
11 Dec 2019


GUANGZHOU, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- The fruitful results of the Global Lawyers Forum, especially promotion of foreign-related legal services between China and Belt and Road (B&R) countries and regions, have gained wide resonance from participants in the forum.


A memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cooperation was signed between the All China Lawyers Association (ACLA) and lawyers associations of many B&R countries and regions, including Italy, Russia, Azerbaijan and Malaysia, during the two-day event.


Bilateral visits will be enhanced among high-level officials and members of lawyers associations, according to the MOU, which will also help increase exchanges of legal publications and information.


The Global Lawyers Forum, hosted by the ACLA and the first of its kind held by China, ran from Monday to Tuesday in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, and attracted some 800 representatives in the legal profession from 57 countries.


"The meeting is a platform built by Chinese lawyers to promote international exchanges and pragmatic cooperation for common development," Chinese Justice Minister Fu Zhenghua said at the opening ceremony of the forum.


China has seen rapid development of its foreign-related legal services in recent years and increased efforts to meet the need for foreign-related legal services among B&R countries and regions.


The ACLA also initiated a bar association a day ahead of the forum to provide better legal services for B&R construction, as China is facing increasing demand for foreign-related legal services, especially with B&R countries and regions.


The Belt and Road International Lawyers Association, with 85 founding members from 36 countries and regions, is established to serve the purposes of promoting exchanges and collaboration between lawyers and lawyers associations of relevant B&R countries and regions, advancing foreign-related legal services and offering quality and efficient legal services to support the B&R construction.


"Chinese law firms have set up about 126 branches in 30 countries and regions around the world. The building of branches will be encouraged in B&R countries and regions in the next two to three years to meet the augmented needs for legal services," said Zhang Xuebing, vice president of the ACLA.


"The B&R construction will inevitably bring huge demand for legal services, and foreign-related legal services will offer legal support and guarantees for the initiative," said Li Zhiqiang, president-elect of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association.


Chinese lawyers handled nearly 127,000 foreign-related legal cases in 2018 and overseas branches of Chinese law firms handled over 32,000 legal cases in the same year.


In 2016, a guideline was jointly issued by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce to strengthen reciprocity and openness in legal service with B&R countries and regions.


A regulation was launched this year by the MOJ concerning law firms' overseas branches, providing more substantial guarantee to support the B&R construction.


Chunghwan Choi, president of the Law Association for Asia and the Pacific, pointed out that legal risks, such as the differences between countries' legal systems and the lack of legal frameworks protecting the prospective interests of foreign investors are urgent issues that need to be addressed.


The forum has provided a good chance for better understanding legal issues in international trade and investment, said Choi, adding that it also helped with solving obstacles checking the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative.


Source: Xinhua