China brings in its foreign firms rules

China has announced the conditions it intends to apply to the establishment of foreign firms in preparation for negotiations on its accession to the World Trade Organisation.

The conditions include allowing as many as 80 foreign firms to establish in 19 named Chinese cities.

The offices will have to be headed by lawyers with more than five-years experience in their home jurisdiction and staffed by lawyers with a minimum of three years experience.

Additionally, the foreigners will only be allowed to offer advice on law in jurisdictions in which they are qualified to practice and on matters of international law.

Jonathon Goldsmith, director of the Law Society's International Directorate, confirmed that the Law Society had been asked by the European Commission to look over China's schedule of commitments, but he said he would make no further comments on the subject because “talks are pending”.