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Foreign Experts Help Draft Trust Law

A long-expected trust law is to come out later this month thanks to technical assistance in lawmaking offered by the Asian Development Bank.

The bank has invited experts from both home and abroad to give advice on the draft law, according to Peng Xiaohua, senior counsel with the office of the bank's General Counsel.

This would bring in the best international practices to the legislative process and help the law absorb good foreign experiences, Peng said in an exclusive interview with China Daily.

The co-operation is helpful to the legislative work of the top legislative body, said Gao Zhixin, a division chief of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee.

In addition to bilateral co-operation with foreign parliaments, the commission has worked together with various international agencies such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank in the legislative field, Gao said.

Such co-operations are usually conducted by jointly holding seminars and consulting foreign legal experts, he added.

The draft trust law will be debated by top legislators in the third round of deliberation at the end of this month, when the NPC's Standing Committee holds its 21th session.

The draft trust law was first drawn up in 1993 by the NPC Financial and Economic Committee and was given a second review last July during the 16th session of the Standing Committee of the Ninth NPC.

Under China's Law on Legislative Procedure, a draft law can be put to a vote after three readings by legislators.

The draft trust law governs basic fiduciary relations, including civil, commercial and charitable fiduciary activities.

To develop public welfare through trusts, an entire chapter of the draft law is devoted to charitable fiduciary activities.

The development of the draft trust law is part of the bank's law and policy reform programme, which started in late 1999, when the Chinese Government requested the bank to provide technical assistance for the draft of seven laws and regulations, Peng said.

On the list are the amendment to the Company Law and draft laws on bankruptcy, trusts, social security, the registration of commercial and industrial organizations and administrative licensing, as well as a regulation for the closure and restructuring of financial institutions.

The bank invested US$1.4 million in the technical assistance, said Peng.

A loose-leaf publication of English versions of China's foreign-related laws and regulations will soon be published with the help of the bank, he added.

Compiled and translated under the supervision and with the approval of the Office of Legislative Affairs of the State Council, the publication will be the first one carrying English versions of Chinese laws and regulations with official authentication, he said.

The bank offered roughly US$700,000 in 1997 for the translation of the laws and regulations in a bid to help foreigners have a clear and comprehensive understanding of Chinese laws in a timely manner.

China has received technical assistance from the bank in 352 projects involving US$180 million in agriculture, natural resources, transport and communications since the country become a member of the bank in 1986, bank figures indicate.

(China Daily 04/14/2001)

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