State Council LAO Seminar on Legal Frameworks for Foreign Investment: UK and Chinese perspectives


Tuesday February 27, 2018

On 27 February 2018, the Great Britain-China Centre (GBCC) and the State Council Legislative Affairs Office (SCLAO) of the People’s Republic of China held a joint seminar on “Legal Frameworks for Foreign Investment: UK and Chinese perspectives” in Beijing.

This timely event was the first in what is expected to be a sustained cooperation with the SCLAO on foreign investment reform and related regulatory matters to support ongoing legal reforms and commitments made by President Xi Jinping at the 19th National Party Congress in October 2017 to open up foreign investment in China. It was also an opportunity to facilitate understanding and exchange views on the UK’s approach to attracting foreign investment at a time of reform and to share best practices to support global commitments to international trade and investment based on principles of  fairness and non-discrimination.

For this event, GBCC and the SCLAO brought together key policy-makers and experts from political, academic and legal institutions to discuss effective approaches to both attracting and regulating foreign investment. In what was a lively and robust forum, both sides were able to exchange views, share best practices on different approaches to ensuring national security in foreign investment, preventing protectionism, and ways to ensure transparency and access to redress including judicial review, and the principles of legal certainty and equality in practice.

Leading the UK delegation was Professor Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC, a practising barrister at Blackstone Chambers and formerly the Founder-Director of the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law. Sir Jeffrey was joined by Nicolas Groffman, Head of International Practice at Harrison Clark Rickerbys; Dr Wu Qianlan, Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham’s School of Law; and Professor Charlotte Villiers, a solicitor and Professor Company Law and Corporate Governance at the University of Bristol. A delegation from the British Embassy also attended to discuss the British government’s recent “National Security and Infrastructure Investment Review” Green Paper.

GBCC Assistant Director Kathryn Rand summed up the day’s discussions in her closing remarks: “Today’s event has been a rare but essential opportunity to engage in open and frank discussion on policy and legal reform at a key moment in global economic reform. The transformation in China’s legal system and the impact on the global economy since its accession to the WTO in 2001 has changed the world order. We welcome this opportunity to work with China as they embark on their next stage of foreign investment legal reform.

The UK’s political and economic system is built on a belief in rule of law and international trade and investment. Whilst some of the issues we face may be specific to our respective country’s conditions, many of the challenges are universal and so will be some of the solutions. Continued dialogue and cooperation is essential if we are all to enjoy the benefits.

For more information on this event or GBCC’s wider Rule of Law and Business Environment programme work, please contact us at

Date posted: 28 February 2018

Categories: Rule of Law and Business Environment

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