Survey singles out China, India as key markets for in-house counsel

China and India were rated as the most attractive emerging markets for UK businesses in a report detailing the role required of general counsel in emerging markets.

The report, published by Baker & McKenzie, surveyed 51 board executives at FTSE 500 companies. Gary Senior, London managing partner said: “With the growing importance of emerging economies and the opportunities and risks involved in doing business with them, demands on general counsel have increased.”

Entitled Risk & Reward: Doing Business with Emerging Markets the report identified risk management and tax planning as vital strategies. It said potential business partners should undergo rigorous investigation, and dispute resolution and exit hurdles dealt with. Whilst local regulations had to be understood, liability in the UK for practices abroad could not be ignored.

Over two thirds of respondents were already operating in China, citing its benefits as cheap labour and a strong work ethic, and its disadvantages as intellectual property piracy.

India’s attraction was its skilled, English-speaking and cost effective labour force, and its weaknesses, its infrastructure and protected market.

Behind China and India, Russia and Brazil were deemed to offer the most exciting opportunities. Russia was popular on account of its natural resources and growing consumer appetites, but its downside was corruption.

Brazil offered political and economic stability but had strong local and US competition.