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HK Official: China's WTO Entry to Benefit Legal Professionals

Legal professionals will benefit from China's entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO), which will create many new business opportunities in the information technology and telecommunications field, a Hong Kong official said Friday.

"As more IT and telecommunications companies explore the mainland market, the role of business lawyers will become increasingly important," Carrie Yau, secretary for information technology and broadcasting, said at a corporate counsel forum of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association.

Yau said that investments in telecommunications infrastructure are of significant size and of long-term nature.

"Overseas investors will need professional legal advice, especially in the early stage of China's accession to the WTO, to strengthen their confidence to make investment in the mainland."

"Also, to compete in the international market, mainland companies have to develop more sophisticated IT and telecommunications products and services, and they would need legal advice on issues such as intellectual property rights to safeguard their interest," she said.

Yau pointed out that Hong Kong will also have a key role to play.

"With our well established common law system, the rule of law and an independent judiciary system, we can be the crucial place where contracts can be made and where disputes can be resolved through our court system or efficient arbitration service, and where the interest of both mainland and overseas parties could be properly safeguarded," she said.

(People's Daily May 4, 2002)

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