General Counsel Kelly Welsh traveled to Beijing and Wuhan, China, the week of January 12 to discuss how the United States and China can work together to promote commercial rule of law.
President Obama and Secretary Pritzker have repeatedly emphasized the importance of a commitment to a strong rule of law for promoting economic growth. General Counsel Welsh bolstered the U.S.-China dialogue by spending time with academics, legal professionals, the media, Chinese government officials, and U.S. business leaders.
In a speech at the Beijing American Center, General Counsel Welsh spoke to a large audience about the importance of a transparent, accountable, and predictable commercial legal system.
General Counsel Welsh said:
During my experience as a senior executive and general counsel for U.S. companies, I saw the link between a strong commercial rule of law and economic growth first hand. When deciding which countries to invest in, or to market our services in, the strength of a country’s rule of law was always a critical factor in our company’s decision-making.
General Counsel Welsh led the U.S. delegation for the 19th U.S.-China Legal Exchange, a longstanding public dialogue with China’s Ministry of Commerce under the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) Commercial Law Working Group. Experts from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (an agency of the Department of Commerce), the Federal Trade Commission, and the private sector, presented to large public audiences at Tsinghua University and Wuhan University on topics of key concern to both the United States and China: U.S. laws and policies on air pollution, and commercial cybersecurity and data privacy.
The General Counsel also met with Chinese government officials to discuss the U.S. approach to cybersecurity, including the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, and to urge China to enforce its laws criminalizing bribery of foreign public officials, to ensure that all companies compete on a level playing field throughout the world.
The General Counsel’s trip highlights the importance for Secretary Pritzker and the Department of Commerce of promoting strong commercial rule of law wherever U.S. companies do business. By promoting a strong rule of law, the United States and China can work together to create a global business climate that fosters growth and innovation.