Workshop preparing firms to do business in China

Pictured (L-R) are: Mark Thompson, Partner, ALG;  Tiernan McKeown, Solicitor, ALG;  Chinese lawyers Chris Zhang and Teresa Yang; Sarah Dugdale, Associate, ALG and Jonny Hacking, Associate, ALG
Pictured (L-R) are: Mark Thompson, Partner, ALG; Tiernan McKeown, Solicitor, ALG; Chinese lawyers Chris Zhang and Teresa Yang; Sarah Dugdale, Associate, ALG and Jonny Hacking, Associate, ALG
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Corporate law firm A&L Goodbody (ALG) hosted a seminar for Northern Irish firms doing business in China or considering entering the Chinese market for the first time.

Guests at the ‘Understanding China’s Economic Drivers and Practices’ event heard from two lawyers from Shanghai and Shenzhen who are currently on the firm’s Chinese Lawyer Programme.

The event followed a ‘Doing Business in China’ workshop, hosted by NI Chamber of Commerce and Industry in partnership with ALG as one of the Chamber’s ‘International Champions’, together with Grant Thornton and Queen’s University Belfast.

ALG associate Sarah Dugdale explained: “China is long-established as a prime market for Northern Irish exporters. In order to succeed in the Chinese market, firms are required to align themselves with the many cultural, economic and legislative nuances there.

“Today’s event at our Belfast office was about helping local firms to understand the many considerations that come with doing business in China and the real-time factors that continue to influence the business environment there, such as its current investment plans and policies.”

ALG partner Mark Thompson continued: “Our Chinese lawyers provided invaluable practical advice on everything from market entry for early exporters through to growing market share in China and negotiating the complex investment and policy regime there.

“We have a deep understanding of China’s legal and business environment, underpinned by our practical experience and knowledge of doing business in China. We support Chinese companies looking at business or investment opportunities in Ireland, north and south, as well as assisting local clients in relation to their business interests in China.”

In 2011, ALG established a Chinese Lawyer Programme in conjunction with a number of the top independent business law firms, corporates and universities in China.

To date, more than 70 Chinese lawyers have spent up to six months with the firm. They service clients and gain frontline exposure to ALG’s domestic and international client base as well as Irish State agencies involved in inbound and outbound investment. These lawyers also have the opportunity to work in-house with these clients or government agencies.

ALG lawyers have similarly gained experience working on secondment in the offices of Chinese law firms for periods of up to four months. The programme is the first of its kind in Ireland and remains unique in the Irish market.