China and the US are the key markets for any company involved in cross-border trade and investment. China's domestic market is a growing, providing immense opportunities for Chinese and foreign companies alike. China's population which exceeds 1.4 billion and its GDP of more than $14 trillion places the country as the world’s second-largest economy.
While the opportunities are obvious, the question is how can Israelis successfully enter into the Chinese market and develop and cultivate their global business.
Amit Ben-Yehoshua is an international attorney who specializes in the axis of trade between China, the US, and Israel. He says, “Doing business with China is easier said than done. Whether one is an importer, exporter, or investor in China or an entity seeking Chinese investors, it is important to remember that China has a different culture and a unique way of doing business. The Chinese have a different tempo and a strong emphasis on the importance of personal relations. The language barrier is also a factor. The problem is that there are hidden issues that are not apparent to the unwary foreign party. Chinese law has its unique characteristics, and many foreign companies quickly fall into very costly traps that could have been avoided if they had consulted with a lawyer who is well versed with the Chinese business scene.”
Ben-Yehoshua, should know, as he is licensed to practice law in California and Israel and completed his Master of Laws degree in Chinese law at Tsinghua University (Beijing), which is recognized as China's top "Ivy League" university. He was the first Israeli-American attorney to complete an advanced degree in law in China. He lived in China for nine years, gaining wide practical experience in doing business there. He worked as senior counsel at the Shanghai branch of the world's largest law firm, Dentons. For more than 20 years, he has garnered extensive global experience as an attorney, entrepreneur, mediator, and arbitrator. He is also a co-founder of the Israeli Chamber of Commerce in China and served on its board of directors. As an American attorney, Ben-Yehoshua was appointed to serve as vice chair of the China Committee of American Bar Association.
In addition to the recognition from the American and Israeli professional community, he was the first Israeli-American attorney to be appointed to serve on China's largest arbitration commission (CIETAC) and was recently appointed to serve on the largest commercial mediation center in Shanghai. He is also licensed as a notary by the Israeli Ministry of Justice, assisting global companies in international translation and certification of documents in Chinese, English, and Hebrew.
The combination of practical experience in hundreds of projects throughout China and his knowledge of the law is a great advantage because the majority of the business ventures conducted within China are subject to Chinese law.
Ben-Yehoshua advises, "Many foreign clients and their attorneys who are not familiar with Chinese law try do business in China and enter clauses in the contracts, referring disputes to their home courts. This is often a very costly mistake. It is very important that the client consult with a Chinese legal practitioner at the early stages of the project to avoid fundamental errors.”
He adds, “China is an ancient culture, and the Chinese expect you to adhere to the Chinese way of doing things. It is vital that the foreign party be accompanied by a legal team that focuses on China because the risks and challenges of doing business in China are very different from those of Western countries. In the West, and especially in Israel, business people seek fast results. I advise my clients to invest the time to learn about the Chinese market and to make sure that they have strategic business plans and the full support of a legal team that focuses on China.”
With such wide experience in the Chinese legal and business world, Ben-Yehoshua is a highly recommended attorney and consultant for international companies that want to do business in China or companies that seek assistance in dispute resolution, which includes arbitration and mediation. His excellent contacts in the Chinese business world can also be of assistance in formulating strategic plans, finding investors, and developing joint ventures.
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