On December 3, 2013, former Congressman Don Bonker of APCO and I will be speaking in Vancouver, Canada at a breakfast conference held by the American Chamber of Commerce on “The Trans-Pacific Partnership Demystified: A Discussion of Trade Opportunities for American and Canadian Businesses”.
Attached is a copy of the Speech announcement. Hope to see some of you in Vancouver, Canada. AMCHAM – Dec 3 TPP Event – INVITE (2)
“TRADE IS A TWO WAY STREET”
There have been some major developments in the trade, Customs fraud, patents, US/Chinese antitrust, and securities areas.
I have just returned from a trip of more than 2 weeks in China. While in China, we discussed US and Chinese antidumping and antitrust cases and other US Litigation against Chinese companies along with the US Importers Lobbying Coalition. In addition, we circulated the attached PowerPoint description in English and Chinese of Dorsey’s Trade and Litigation Team. FINAL CHINA TRADE LITIGATION POWERPOINT NOV 2013 Final CHINESE China Trade Litigation PowerPoint Nov 2013
SOLAR CELLS ANTIDUMPING AND COUNTERVAILNG DUTY CASE—SETTLEMENT AND THIRD COUNTRY CELLS LOOPHOLE
Apparently, negotiations between the US and China in the Solar Cells case have slowed down because there have been no further developments that have been announced publicly.
Meanwhile, however, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Customs are continuing to press Chinese exporters and US importers of solar panels to demonstrate that their imports of Chinese modules and panels fall outside of existing antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders by proving that they contain solar cells in the Chinese panels and modules that are produced in third countries.
Solar cells produced in countries, such as Taiwan and Malaysia, fall outside the scope of the trade remedy orders imposed by Commerce, even if they are assembled into modules and panels and shipped by companies in China. Many Chinese companies – even those that manufacture cells – have thus begun incorporating cells made in third countries in order to make sure those products shipped to the U.S. are not affected.
As mentioned in my last post, the Commerce Department continues to investigate, but has not launched a formal circumvention inquiry yet. In addition to Commerce, Customs is requiring similar documents to prove that the solar cells were actually produced outside of China. On November 16, 2013, USTR Michael Froman said that a close partnership between USTR and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) was the key to enforcing trade duty orders against Chinese solar panels.
After touring the Los Angeles port the USTR said in a statement that the U.S. takes a “whole-of-government” approach to trade enforcement. As one example, the USTR explained that his office and Customs had partnered to protect the U.S. solar industry by challenging unfair trade practices on the part of China through disputes at the World Trade Organization and enforcement of U.S. trade remedy laws.
“When it comes to solar, the Obama administration is enforcing U.S. trade remedy laws and U.S. rights under WTO agreements,” Froman said. “At the same time, [Customs] is stepping up reviews of imports of solar panels from China to determine whether they are improperly evading payment of antidumping and countervailing duties.”
USTR also pointed to the coming WTO multilateral negotiations in Bali on trade facilitation measures, which would streamline customs procedures, and is “poised to close” the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership with 11 other Pacific Rim countries.
Unfortunately, the November 27, 2013 reports are that the WTO multilateral negotiations in Bali have broken down, in part over the Trade Facilitation report, which means the Trans Pacific Partnership and other negotiations will become even more important.
ATTACK ON SUNTECH
On November 6, 2013, Solar World launched an attack in the Solar Cells case arguing that Commerce should raise Suntech’s antidumping cash deposit rate from 29.14 to 250% because it is now owned by a new company. SOLAR SHUNFENG In the attached submission, Solar World argues:
“On behalf of SolarWorld Industries America Inc. (“SolarWorld”), Petitioner in the above-captioned investigations, we respectfully request the U.S. Department of Commerce (“the Department”) to instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) to assess antidumping and countervailing duties on all entries of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not assembled into modules (“solar cells and modules”), imported into the United States by Shunfeng Photovoltaic International Ltd. (“Shunfeng”) or related entities at the PRC-wide rate of 249.96 percent and the All Others rate of 15.24 percent. . . .”
“Publicly available information now indicates that Suntech has ceased to exist as an independent entity and is thus no longer entitled to these separate rates. In March of this year, Suntech was forced into bankruptcy proceedings after defaulting on U.S. bond payments. This month, Shunfeng, a mid-size solar manufacturer in China, announced that it won a bid to purchase the main unit of Suntech’s assets, i.e., Wuxi Suntech Power Co. Reports indicate that Shunfeng has paid a deposit of CNY500 million ($82 million) to acquire Suntech, and is expected to pay an additional CNY2.5 billion (or $410 million).”
“In light of this acquisition, solar cells and modules produced by the former Suntech entity will now be imported into the United States by Shunfeng. While Shunfeng participated in the original investigation, it did not submit an application for a separate rate. Antidumping duties on imports of Chinese solar cells and modules from Shunfeng, therefore, are assessed at the PRC-wide rate of 249.96 percent, while countervailing duties are assessed at the All Others rate of 15.24 percent.”
“Given the recent asset acquisition, the PRC-wide and All Others rates now also apply to solar cells and modules manufactured by the former Suntech entity and imported by Shunfeng. Shunfeng is not entitled to Suntech’s separate rates absent a request for a changed circumstances review, a full investigation, and a final determination by the Department. Indeed, based on publicly available information about the nature and structure of the transaction, in particular that Suntech’s assets were purchased out of bankruptcy, it is unlikely that Shunfeng would be entitled to Suntech’s separate rates.”
HARDWOOD PLYWOOD—NEGATIVE ITC INJURY DETERMINATION
On November 5, 2013, in a very surprising decision, the US International Trade Commission (“ITC”) reached a negative, no injury, no threat of material injury determination in the antidumping and countervailing duty case on hardwood plywood from China. All five voting Commissioners reached a negative determination.
In its opinion, the Commission found that although subject import volume increased from 2010 to 2012, it did so solely at the expense of nonsubject imports and that there was no “significant correlation between subject import prices and the domestic industry’s prices or shipment volumes. Prices for the subject imports trended upward throughout the period of investigation for all six of the products.”
The ITC also determined that “the underselling did not cause a shift in volume from the domestic like product to the subject imports. To the contrary, for most of the pricing products, quarterly shipments of domestically produced hardwood plywood were greater in 2012 when total subject import volume was at its peak, than in 2010. We also note that despite the prevalent underselling over the period of investigation, the domestic industry did not lose market share. Rather, as discussed above, the domestic industry’s share of apparent U.S. consumption increased steadily throughout the period of investigation while lower‐priced subject imports also gained market share. To the extent that subject imports gained market share, they did so at the expense of nonsubject imports and without depressing domestic prices. . . .”
“Most of the industry’s trade and employment indicators improved during the period of investigation, including in interim 2013 as the industry continued to recover from the recession. The domestic industry’s U.S. shipments increased steadily from 2010 to 2012 and were higher in interim 2013 than in interim 2012.”
Two factors that may have had an indirect impact on the case were the Commerce decision and the impact on downstream industries.
As mentioned in the last newsletter and blog, the Commerce Department used Bulgaria as the surrogate country to find dumping by Chinese hardwood plywood companies.
In addition, as indicated in past newsletters and blog posts, US downstream producers of kitchen cabinets, doors and windows have been very vocal in their opposition to these cases because of the very damaging effect any antidumping and countervailing duty orders on Chinese hardwood plywood could have on US downstream industries.
Although the ITC cannot take these two factors into direct account in their determination because they are not statutory factors to be considered, they could have an indirect effect and may have made certain ITC Commissioners more predisposed to reach a negative injury determination if there was a way to do so.
WOOD FLOORING — COMMERCE DEPARTMENT ANTIDUMPING REVIEW INVESTIGATION
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department has issued a preliminary determination in the first antidumping review investigation in the Wood Flooring from China case raising the antidumping rate slightly from 3.88% to 4.77%. See the attached preliminary determination. Wood_Flooring_AD Prelim_FR_signed_pub
This decision will not have any actual impact on the US market, however, because it is only Commerce Department final determinations in review investigations that set new cash deposit and assessment rates for imports of wood flooring from China.
COMMERCE NEW SAMPLING METHODOLOGY
On November 4, 2013, the Commerce Department issued the attached Federal Register notice announcing that it was changing its respondent selection methodology in antidumping review investigations to include sampling. SAMPLYING NME METHODOLOGY COMMERCE As it stands now, in choosing the “mandatory” respondents in antidumping review investigations, Commerce generally creates a list of the Chinese exporters during the relevant review period and picks the two or three largest exporters of the products under investigation during that period.
As mandatory respondents in antidumping review investigations, Chinese export companies must respond to the entire 100 page Commerce Department questionnaire and numerous supplemental questionnaires and be subject to Commerce Department verifications. Because of the substantial added work, mandatory respondent companies can often pay more than $100,000 in legal fees. Such high legal fees can cause smaller Chinese export companies simply to give up, which, in turn, can create enormous liability for US importers because of retroactive liability.
As the Department states in the attached Federal Register notice:
“As explained in the Proposed Methodology, when the number of producers/exporters (“companies”) involved in an AD investigation or review is so large that the Department finds it impracticable to examine each company individually, the Department has the statutory authority to limit its examination to: (1) A sample of exporters, producers, or types of products that is statistically valid based on the information available to the administering authority at the time of selection, or (2) exporters and producers accounting for the largest volume of subject merchandise from the exporting country that can reasonably be examined. The Department has, to date, generally used the second option in proceedings in which limited examination has been necessary. One consequence of this is that companies under investigation or review with relatively small import volumes have effectively been excluded from individual examination.”
“Over time, this creates a potential enforcement concern in AD administrative reviews because, as exporters accounting for smaller volumes of subject merchandise become aware that they are effectively excluded from individual examination by the Department’s respondent selection methodology, they may decide to lower their prices as they recognize that their pricing behavior will not affect the AD rates assigned to them. Sampling such companies under section 777A(c)(2)(A) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the “Act”), is one way to address this enforcement concern. . . .”
“The statute requires that the sample be “statistically valid.” The Department has interpreted this as referring to the manner in which the Department selects respondents. Therefore, to ensure the statistical validity of samples, in the Proposed Methodology, the Department proposed employing a sampling technique that: (1) is random; (2) is stratified; and (3) uses probability-proportional-to-size (“PPS”) samples. Random selection ensures that every company has a chance of being selected as a respondent and captures potential variability across the population. Stratification by import volume ensures the participation of companies with different ranges of import volumes in the review, which is key to addressing the enforcement concern identified above. Finally, PPS samples ensure that the probability of a company being chosen as a respondent is proportional to its share of imports in the respective stratum.”
“In general, the Department will normally rely on sampling for respondent selection purposes in AD administrative reviews when the following conditions are met: (1) There is a request by an interested party for the use of sampling to select respondents; (2) the Department has the resources to examine individually at least three companies for the segment; (3) the largest three companies (or more if the Department intends to select more than three respondents) by import volume of the subject merchandise under review account for normally no more than 50 percent of total volume; and (4) information obtained by or provided to the Department provides a reasonable basis to believe or suspect that the average export prices and/or dumping margins for the largest exporters differ from such information that would be associated with the remaining exporters.”
COMMERCE NAME CHANGE—NOW ENFORCEMENT AND COMPLIANCE
On October 22, 2013, the Commerce Department changed the name of the organizational unit assigned to administer and calculate antidumping and countervailing duty rates from “Import Administration” to “Enforcement and Compliance.” In the attached Federal Register notice, COMMERCE NAME CHANGE Commerce states that “The revision more accurately reflects the breadth of the agency’s activities with respect to the enforcement of, and compliance with U.S. trade laws and agreements.”
IMPORT ALLIANCE FOR AMERICA/IMPORTERS’ LOBBYING COALITION
As mentioned in prior newsletters, we are working with APCO, a well-known lobbying/government relations firm in Washington DC, on establishing a US importers/end users lobbying coalition to lobby against the expansion of the antidumping and countervailing duty laws against China.
On September 18, 2013, ten US Importers agreed to form the Import Alliance for America. The objective of the Coalition will be to educate the US Congress and Administration on the damaging effects of the US China trade war, especially US antidumping and countervailing duty laws, on US importers and US downstream industries.
We will be targeting two major issues—Working for market economy treatment for China in 2016 and working against retroactive liability for US importers. The key point of our arguments is that these changes in the US antidumping and countervailing duty laws are to help US companies, especially US importers and downstream industries. We will also be advocating for a public interest test in antidumping and countervailing duty cases and standing for US end user companies.
We are now contacting many US importers and also Chinese companies to ask them to contact their US import companies to see if they interested in participating in the Alliance. Changes to the US antidumping and countervailing duty law against China can only happen because of a push by US importers and end user companies. In US politics, only squeaky wheels get the grease.
HONEYGATE GOES ON
On November 15, 2013, the Justice Department announced that a Federal judge in Illinois sentenced Jun Yang, a U.S.-based honey broker, to three years in federal prison for his role in a scheme to evade nearly $38 million in antidumping duties on imports of Chinese honey into the U.S. In March Jun Yang pled guilty to mislabeling Chinese honey and declaring falsely to Customs that the honey originated from India or Malaysia to avoid the antidumping duties on Chinese honey. Yang has already paid $2.89 million in penalties to the US government.
According to Gary Hartwig, an agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit “This is a significant sentence against a perpetrator of one of the largest food fraud schemes uncovered in U.S. history. Together with our partners at Customs and Border Protection, we will continue to protect American industries from deceptive import practices, while facilitating the lawful flow of goods across our borders that is so critical to the U.S. economy.”
DOJ said that an undercover HSI agent helped uncover the scheme. Court filings show that Yang delivered 778 container loads of honey to processors and distributors that were falsely declared as Malaysian or Indian imports while knowing that all or some of the honey had originated in China.
Yang’s arrest was part of an ongoing government probe of Chinese honey smuggling operations that allegedly evaded a total of $180 million in antidumping duties.
NEW PATENT AND TRADEMARK CASES AGAINST CHINESE COMPANIES, INCLUDING HUAWEI, ZTE, AND OTHER COMPANIES
On October 31, 2013, Rockstar Consortium filed a patent case against Huawei. ROCKSTAR HUAWEI
On November 7, 2013, Mobile Telecommunications Technologies filed a patent case against ZTE. ZTE CASE
On November 8, 2013, Secure Nova LLC filed a patent case against ZTE. SECURE ZTE CASE
On November 15, 2013, Bendpak filed a trademark, trade secrets, unfair competition case against Qingdao Lianhai Hydraulic Machinery Co. QINGDAOTMK
On November 26, 2013, Long Corner Consumer Electronics filed a patent case against Huawei. LONGCORNER HUAWEI
On November 26, 2013, Crossroads Systems Inc. filed a patent case against Huawei. CROSSROADS HUAWEI
On November 26, 2013, Memory Integrity filed a patent case against Hisense. HISENSE
VITAMIN C CASE
The Vitamin C case is wrapping up at the District Court level.
As mentioned in my last post, the October 16, 2013 proposed settlement agreement with China Pharmaceutical Group Ltd. and Weisheng Pharmaceutical Group Co., Ltd. provided for the payment of Plaintiffs’ legal fees of $7.8 million plus $1.5 million in expenses by the Chinese companies. In other words, the Chinese respondent companies pay the legal fees of the US lawyers bringing the case.
On November 26, 2013, in the attached memorandum order and decision, VITAMIN C JUDGMENT the Federal Court rejected arguments by Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (“Hebei”) and North China Pharmaceutical Group Corp. (“NCPGC”) that as a matter of law they should not be found guilty under Section 1 of the Sherman Act for price fixing. The effect of the Court’s decision is to leave in place a judgment of $153 million damages award against the two companies.
The most important part of the decision is the response to Hebei and NCPGC’s arguments that the Act of State, Foreign Sovereign Compulsion, and International Comity doctrines bar the jury’s verdict as a matter of law under the US antitrust law. As the Court states in the attached decision on pages 1-3:
“First, defendants argue that the jury’s verdict against them is barred as a matter of law by the doctrines of act of state, foreign sovereign compulsion, and international comity. In essence, defendants contend that the Court’s prior rulings that Chinese law did not compel defendants’ actions were erroneous and that plaintiffs’ claims never should have been brought before a jury. . . . The Court stands by and reaffirms its prior rulings that Chinese law did not compel defendants to engage in antitrust violations, that the doctrines of act of state and international comity do not bar plaintiffs’ suit, and that it was inappropriate to present evidence about the meaning of Chinese laws to the jury. Nothing has changed from these pretrial rulings and defendants have stated no additional grounds to revisit them.”
“Moreover, defendants ignore that one purpose of the trial in this matter was to determine whether, regardless of what Chinese law authorized, defendants’ conduct was actually compelled by the Chinese government as a matter of a fact. Therefore, the Court instructed the jury that it was required to return a defense verdict if defendants proved, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the Chinese government actually compelled them to fix the price or limit the supply of vitamin C and defendants have not challenged this instruction.”
“There was ample evidence presented at trial from which the jury could have found that the Chinese government did not actually compel defendants’ decisions to fix the price and limit the supply of vitamin C – including evidence suggesting that the “verification and chop” mechanism did not actually compel defendants to enter into anticompetitive agreements and that the Vitamin C Subcommittee of the Chamber of Commerce of Medicines and Health Products Importers and Exporters (the “Chamber”) was a voluntary trade association. Moreover, in rejecting the compulsion defense, the jury necessarily assessed the credibility of witnesses’ testimony and, on a Rule 50(b) motion, the Court may not second-guess those determinations. . . .”
“Nor, despite defendants’ suggestion, was it error for the Court to exclude from the jury copies of Chinese laws and regulations and witness testimony about the meaning and content of those laws. Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 44.1, the determination of foreign law is a question of law. It is for the Court, not for the jury, to decide questions of law and the Court did so when it ruled that, as a matter of law, Chinese law did not compel defendants’ conduct. Accordingly, defendants’ renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law based on the act of state, foreign sovereign compulsion, and international comity doctrines is denied.”
The Court rejected the arguments of the two Chinese companies and in addition issued an injunction enjoining the Chinese companies from fixing prices in the future.
During my recent trip to China, many Chinese companies and the Chambers of Commerce simply did not realize that US judgments against Chinese companies can be enforced through Chinese bank branches in New York City. We are presently representing a major Chinese bank in litigation in New York City in which the US lawyer, David Boies, is attempting to get money damages from the Chinese bank in China through its bank branch in New York city. This same lawyer, David Boies, is a Plaintiff attorney in the Vitamin C case.
The times they are a changing and the Chinese companies should understand that they are now vulnerable to attacks from US litigation.
JAPANESE AUTO PARTS ANTITRUST CASES
On November 26 and 27, 2013, the Justice Department issued two announcements that Toyo Tire and Rubber TOYO GUILTY and Stanley Electric STANLEY ELECTRIC had agreed to plead guilty to price fixing on automobile parts installed in US cars. Although these Auto Parts antitrust cases are against Japanese and Taiwan companies, they should be of interest to Chinese auto parts and other companies and US importers.
With regards to the plea by Toyo, the Justice Department issued the attached announcement stating:
“Japan-based Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $120 million criminal fine for its role in two separate conspiracies to fix the prices of automotive components involving anti-vibration rubber and driveshaft parts installed in cars sold in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced today.”
“According to a two-count felony charge filed today in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in Toledo, Toyo engaged in a conspiracy to allocate sales of, to rig bids for, and to fix the prices of automotive antivibration rubber parts it sold to Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Corp., Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. – more commonly known by its brand name, Subaru – and certain of their subsidiaries, affiliates and suppliers, in the United States and elsewhere. . . .”
“In addition, according to the charge, Toyo engaged in a separate conspiracy to allocate sales of, and to fix, raise and maintain the prices of automotive constant-velocity-joint boots it sold to U.S. subsidiaries of GKN plc, a British automotive parts supplier. . . .”
“Today’s charge is the latest step in the Antitrust Division’s effort to hold automobile part suppliers accountable for their illegal and collusive conduct,” said Renata B. Hesse, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. “The division continues to vigorously prosecute companies and individuals that seek to maximize their profits through illegal and anticompetitive means.”
“The department said the company and its co-conspirators carried out the conspiracies through meetings and conversations, discussed and agreed upon bids, price quotations and price adjustments, and agreed to allocate among the companies certain sales of the anti-vibration rubber and constant-velocity-joint boots parts sold to automobile and component manufacturers.”
“Including Toyo, 22 companies and 26 executives have been charged in the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into the automotive parts industry. All 22 companies have either pleaded guilty or have agreed to plead guilty and have agreed to pay more than $1.8 billion in criminal fines. Of the 26 executives, 20 have been sentenced to serve time in U.S. prisons or have entered into plea agreements calling for significant prison sentences. . . .”
“The charges are the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the automotive parts industry, which is being conducted by each of the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement sections and the FBI.”
CHINA ANTITRUST CASES
On November 25, 2013, the Wall Street Journal reported that Qualcomm is subject to an antitrust investigation in China and Cisco is facing retaliation because of the actions of the US Congress against Huawei. The investigation by the NDRC in China is regarding Qualcomm’s patent royalties on chips used for handsets.
Qualcomm’s chief executive acknowledged the investigation and indicated that the investigation is in response to U.S. restrictions on Chinese companies and revelations about surveillance by the National Security Agency.
Qualcomm, however, is the largest maker of processors and communications chips for mobile phone and has a dominant position in the high-speed technology called LTE that Chinese carriers are moving to adopt.
Qualcomm charges for patent royalties to mobile phone makers for use of its chips have resulted in South Korean and Japanese antitrust cases. Qualcomm is appealing adverse rulings in both countries.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Qualcomm Chief Executive Paul Jacobs said the de facto U.S. ban on telecom gear maker Huawei Technologies and revelations about NSA spying were affecting Qualcomm’s business in China. Executives of Cisco Systems also recently suggested that Chinese customers are cutting purchases of US tech gear because of the reaction to the US ban.
What goes around, comes around.
A number of new securities complaints cases have been filed against Chinese companies.
On October 29, 2013, Pang filed a class action securities case against NQ Mobile and various Chinese individuals. PANGNQ
On October 30, 2013 Hiller filed a class action securities action against NQ Mobile and various Chinese individuals. HILLER NQ
On November 5, 2013 Gangaramai filed a class action securities action against NQ Mobile and various Chinese individuals. GANGNQMOBILE
On November 14, 2013 Martin filed a class action securities action against NQ Mobile and various Chinese individuals. MARTINNQMOBILE
In talking with insurance brokers in China, it is now clear that the reason that the Chinese individuals are named in Class Action Securities cases is that insurance companies often insure the individuals that are in management or on the Board of Directors, but not the companies themselves
FOREIGN CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT
In November 2013, three Dorsey partners, Tom Gorman, who was formerly with the enforcement division of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Nick Akerman, Nike Burkill and Aidan Colclough published the attached Anti-Corruption Digest regarding the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other UK Legal Actions against bribery. FCPA DIGEST
With regards to China the Dorsey partners state:
“FCPA Compliance in China “
“The US China Business Council (the “USCBC”) has published a report which provides an insight into practices which can assist companies doing business in the higher risk environment of the PRC. The report, entitled Best Practices for Managing Compliance in China, is based on a survey of 30 companies doing business in China, spanning a variety of industry sectors.”
“The survey highlights compliance practices currently being utilized by companies doing business in China. These include:
— Entertainment. One of the key risks faced by companies stems from commercial and government entertainment. 94% of the firms responding in the survey reported using mandatory monetary thresholds or limits on the amount that can be spent on entertainment and gift giving. 44% of those companies use global company wide limits in U.S. dollars while 56% keep the thresholds in local currency. The average threshold for entertainment expenses in China is about $72 per event.
–Gifts. Gift giving is a key issue because it is a customary practice in China. Most companies reported that they discourage gifts. When they are unavoidable, typically firms favor giving gifts of minimal monetary value with corporate logos such as flash drives, calendars, notebooks and small toys directly related to the business of the company. Most companies also maintain a threshold for gifts. The average amount for those in the survey was $57.
–Whistleblowers. Nearly all of the companies in the survey offer hotlines for staff to anonymously report compliance concerns. The most successful are those with multi-lingual support and local call-in numbers.
–Joint ventures. Given the local laws restricting the modes of foreign investment in China, these present one of the most challenging issues. Companies in the survey stated the importance of continually discussing compliance to ensure that it is considered a priority in the partnership. Given that a foreign partner may not always have direct input with regards to the joint venture’s day-to-day operations, the respondents noted that it is vital to ensure that senior leaders at the joint venture company continually reinforce the compliance message.”
If you have any questions about these cases or about the US trade, customs, false claims act, 337, patent, antitrust or securities law in general, please feel free to contact me.