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Laws Move in WTO Direction

China needs to increase efforts to reshape its laws and regulations so that they conform to standards demanded by the World Trade Organization (WTO) , which is close to accepting China's bid for membership, leading legal advisers said in Shanghai Monday.

Creating a legal environment amenable to the doings of international conventions is a crucial task if China wishes to play the WTO game well, they said.

This was the message stressed at a two-day forum entitled China Contract Law Enforcement and E-Commerce Application, which ended Tuesday.

The event saw key presentations from a variety of individuals, including experts and officials from the National People's Congress, Supreme People's Court, Shanghai Arbitration Commission and Shanghai Electronic Certification Authority Centre.

While exchanging ideas on the formulation, validation and enforcement of contracts in accordance with the Contract Law, which was instituted in 1999, they also had discussions on how to handle the fledgling online business industry in terms of sales, purchase and service agreements.

"In general, the Contract Law has so far been quite satisfactory," said Wang Shengming, director of the Civil Law Section with the Law Committee under the National People's Congress.

Wang was primarily responsible for the drafting of the law and some other laws.

"We performed an in-depth study of all the related international conventions to adapt the law better to meet the needs of the increasingly globalized economy," said Wang.

"But that does not necessarily mean it is perfect; further improvement might be needed with some chapters," he said.

The most important task will be to clear out what he calls knotty government services and regulations that smother foreign companies' enthusiasm for their investment in China.

"Sometimes, all the procedures required by the city's industry and commerce administration can seem extremely complicated, even for something simple like a board restructuring," said a senior counsel for a wholly British-owned company.

All the government agencies should try to pave an easier way for foreign investors' entering the domestic market with China's WTO entry, said the counsel, who refused to be named.

(China Daily 11/22/2000)

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