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Foley & Lardner Partners Louis Lehot and Mike Walsh recently hosted a seminar for the Northern California Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) focused on doing business in China in 2023.

Although diplomatic relations are at an all-time low, U.S.-China business has never been higher when measured in terms of dollars and volume of trade. Corporate partner Louis Lehot and national security partner Mike Walsh engaged the speakers in conversation, featuring Ker Gibbs, former Chair of the American Chamber of Commerce Shanghai and H.K. Park, national security consultant with Martin+Crumpton Group LLC.

The seminar included a deeper-dive discussion on a variety of topics, including:

  • Executive orders on doing business in China, export controls and pending legislation before Congress (including the effect of the midterm elections)
  • Political developments in China leading up to the Communist Party Congress
  • Recent action over Taiwan, the South China Sea, and inter-locking security guarantees
  • Conflicts over human rights, protecting global brands, and navigating compliance hurdles
  • How to protect staff from “arbitrary detention” and exit bans
  • Communications with headquarters, with limited travel and no expatriate staff in the region.
  • Black swan events — what if the Treasury had enforced the ban on WeChat?
  • Impact of political rhetoric on Chinese staff and customers
  • Evolving SEC disclosure requirements and prudent scenario planning

The speakers engaged in a lively discussion with NACD members on the responsibilities of directors, particularly those working with multinational companies, who should be looking to evolve a “greater Asia strategy.”

Speakers focused on the characteristics and skill sets needed of board members to help manage that strategy, and looking around the corner two, five and ten years out.

As always, Foley worked with NACD directors Lisa Spivey and Haley Huckin to create an intimate setting over cocktails and dinner in San Francisco’s iconic venue “CHINA LIVE” to enable honest and authentic conversations, learning and networking.

Author Louis Lehot

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