Top Legal / Regulatory Challenges in China

AmCham Shanghai has released its China Business Report, a detailed and comprehensive report that covers major issues companies face in China. The report reminds us that China is not an easy place for business, and one of the reasons is the fact that the country’s legal framework is still in the process of being built. Even if the law is fully developed, the application and enforcement can be uneven, especially in areas outside Tier 1 cities (Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou). Bellow you may find the key legal/regulatory challenges identified ( % indicates that a challenge “seriously hinders” or “somehow hinders” business).

Key legal/regulatory challenges in China

1.Bureaucracy (74%)

2.Unclear regulatory environment (72%)

3.Lack of government transparency (67%)

4.Tax administration (66%)

5.Customs clearance delays (62%)

6.Customs and trade regulations (61%)

7.Difficulty enforcing contract terms (61%)

8.Obtaining required licenses (58%)

9.Difficulty in litigation (50%)

10.Domestic protectionism (between provinces) (49%)

11.Legal restrictions on market access (49%)

The list is topped by the same challenges we have seen in previous year´s reports: bureaucracy, an unclear regulatory environment and a lack of government transparency. It is important to highlight that 71 percent of respondents say the regulatory environment in their industry has either “not changed” or “deteriorated” over the past year.

Responses to legal/regulatory challenges vary by industry but the less affected one seems to be the auto industries. As a well established industry in China ( and a welcomed one) it does not so much perceive regulatory challenges as a major issue (it scores lower than any other on the question about challenges seriously hindering their business).

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