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China Law Responds to U.S. Investment Demands. Critics Say It’s Not Enough.

来源:纽约时报    2019-03-07 09:17

        BEIJING — China is poised to approve a sweeping rewrite of the country’s laws on foreign investment that it hopes will help pacify the United States and ease a rancorous trade dispute. The new rules would respond to some concerns among foreign governments and businesses but disregard many other worries.        北京——中国准备批准一项对该国外商投资法的全面修订,希望此举有助于平息美国的不满,缓和两国之间充满敌意的贸易争端。新法规将对外国政府和企业的一些担忧做出回应,但也将忽视许多其他担忧。
        China has been locked in a bruising struggle with the United States over the Trump administration’s contentions that Beijing has repeatedly forced foreign companies to hand over technological secrets as a condition of doing business in China, and has failed to protect American companies’ products from counterfeiting and other illegal copying. Beijing has denied any shortcomings in its existing practices, and the new law does call for tighter enforcement.        中美两国陷入了一场激烈争执,特朗普政府认为,北京一再迫使外国公司交出技术秘密,作为在中国做生意的条件,而且中国没有保护美国公司的产品不受仿造及其他非法“山寨”的伤害。北京方面则否认中国目前的做法存在任何缺陷。不过,新法规的确提出了加强执法的要求。
        But the new law is made up of many single-sentence pronouncements on complex issues, with no details on how those rules would be carried out.        但是,新法规只是对许多复杂问题做出句子简短的宣告,并没有详细说明要如何执行这些规定。
        “This is good, but it’s not enough,” said Carlo Diego D’Andrea, the chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.        “这是件好事,但还不够,”中国欧盟商会上海分会(European Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai)主席代开乐(Carlo Diego D’Andrea)说。
        There are some signs that a settlement of the trade war may be coming soon. Still, the new foreign investment law, if passed, would ban local and provincial officials from requiring that foreign companies transfer technology to Chinese companies.        有迹象表明,贸易战的问题可能很快会得到解决。如果修订的外商投资法得到通过,它将禁止地方和省级官员要求外国公司转让技术的做法。
        The most recent published draft, issued in late December, made no mention of preventing national government regulators from demanding technology transfers.        去年12月底公布的外商投资法草案没有提及禁止中央政府的监管者要求技术转让。
        The National People’s Congress said on Monday that it would debate the draft law on Friday and vote on it a week later at the close of the session. Approval is essentially automatic in the 2,975-member congress, which is tightly controlled by the Communist Party, although there is some room for last-minute amendments. The congress’s 11-day annual session opens on Tuesday.        全国人民代表大会周一表示,将在周五对该草案进行审议,并将在全国人大一周后结束时进行表决。由2975名代表组成的全国人大批准这项草案基本上毫无悬念,共产党对全国人大有严密的控制,不过仍有一些对草案进行最后一刻修改的余地。每年一次的全国人大将于周二开幕,这次会期为11天。
        Zhang Yesui, the spokesman for the congress, said the law would “improve the openness, transparency and predictability of the investment environment, and provide more effective legal protection for the formation of a new, open system.”        全国人大发言人张业遂说,该法案“将提高投资环境的开放度、透明度和可预期性,为推动形成全面开放新格局提供更加有力的法律保障”。
        Chinese experts say the legislation would be a big improvement over the current environment in which foreign investment is regulated by three separate laws.        中国的专家说,与目前环境相比,新法将是一大进步。目前对外国投资的监管依据三部不同的法律。
        Foreign experts are less sure. The European Chamber of Commerce in China said in a statement last week that the language used in the law was overly broad and lacking in specifics.        外国的专家对这点则不太确定。中国欧盟商会上周在一份声明中说,该法律使用的语言过于宽泛,缺乏细节。
        The 2015 draft of the same law, which the legislature never approved, had 170 articles. But the final draft released for public comment in late December had just 39 articles, a third of which are a single sentence each.        2015年起草的外商投资法修订稿有170个条款,该草案从未得到立法机构的批准。但去年12月底公布的征求意见稿只有39个条款,其中三分之一只有一句话。
        Over the last several years, as Chinese officials mused publicly about the possibility of a new law, there were some calls from foreign and domestic businesses for the laws on foreign investment to be merged with the laws for Chinese investors.        过去几年里,随着中国官员对出台新法律的可能性公开发表看法,一些国内外企业曾呼吁,将有关外国投资者的法律与针对中国国内投资者的法律合并。
        Foreign businesses contended that they should be allowed to compete based on the same rules as local businesses. Some Chinese businesses also favored merging the domestic and foreign investment laws in the hope that they would be given more protection. For example, the draft foreign investment law requires that companies be fairly compensated if their assets are seized by the state — a rule that might benefit Chinese companies if they were in a similar situation.        外国企业认为,它们应该被允许按照与本土企业相同的规则进行竞争。一些中国企业也赞成将国内投资法与外商投资法合并,希望那会让它们得到更多的保护。比如,《外商投资法》草案要求,如果政府征收外商企业资产的话,应对企业进行公平的补偿,这条规定可能会对面临同样情况的中国企业有利。
        The European Chamber criticized the government for retaining separate rules for foreign investors. And Ker Gibbs, the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, said that “foreign businesses should receive equal treatment and only be restricted from investing in areas that truly impact national security interests.”        欧盟商会批评了中国政府保留了对外国投资者另行规定的做法。上海美国商会会长季恺文(Ker Gibbs)说,“外国企业应该得到平等对待,对外商投资的限制应该只是在真正影响国家安全利益的领域。”
        Western business groups are also particularly concerned that the law would require foreign companies to share detailed information about their operations under a new reporting system. That system would be used to keep score of how well foreign companies’ subsidiaries comply with local and national regulations, including areas like pollution, head count and labor disputes.        西方商业团体还有一个特别的担忧,新法将要求外国企业通过一个新的报告制度让政府共享有关运营的详细信息。这个制度将用于记录外国公司的子公司遵守地方和国家规定的情况,包括污染、员工人数和劳动争议等领域。
        Business groups wanted the law to include a ban on the sharing of information from the reporting system with Chinese competitors. But the most recently released draft does not include such a provision.        商业团体希望该法律包括一条禁止与中国竞争对手分享来自这个报告制度信息的条款。但最近公布的草案中并不包括这个条款。
        Foreign business groups and business leaders have also been caught off guard by the way that China has fast-tracked the process of reviewing the new law.        外国商业团体和商业领袖也对中国加快新法审议进程的做法感到有点不知所措。
        In China, draft laws often go through reviews that take several years. In this case, the law looked set to be voted on less than three months after being introduced, although a different, more comprehensive draft had been circulated by China’s Commerce Ministry in 2015.        在中国,法律草案通常要经过几年时间的审议。这个法律草案在公布不到3个月后,似乎就要对其进行投票表决,虽然中国商务部曾在2015年传阅过一份不同的、更全面的草案。
        The standing committee of the legislature held an initial review of the new law on Dec. 26 and then issued the draft for public comment. It then held a second review at the end of January, just before the start of Chinese New Year celebrations and nearly a month before the deadline for public comments.        去年12月26日,全国人大常委会对新的法律草案进行了初步审议后,发布了征求意见稿。然后在1月底,就在春节长假即将到来前、与公众评论截止日期还有将近一个月的时候,人大常委会对草案进行了第二次审议。
        Many foreign executives were out of town on vacation during both reviews, so there has been little discussion of the new law’s impact. The European Union criticized the government for moving faster on the legislation than China’s own rules for public comment would normally allow.        这两次审议期间,许多外国高管都在国外度假,所以人们几乎没有听到对新法律影响的讨论。欧盟批评中国政府快速审议这项立法的做法,其审议速度比中国自己在立法方面通常遵循的公众评论规则所要求的快得多。
        The draft law would establish a complaints procedure for foreign companies. But it indicates that such cases may be heard in Chinese courts, which are under the tight control of the Communist Party. Many judges in China have limited legal training and are chosen for political loyalty.        法律草案建立了一个外国公司的投诉机制,但这表明,此类投诉可能要由中国法院受理,而中国法院处于共产党的严密控制之下。许多中国法官只受过有限的法律训练,他们获得任命是基于政治忠诚。
        James Zimmerman, a partner in the Beijing office of Perkins Coie law firm, said that if the final version of the legislation next week calls for cases to be heard in Chinese courts, practically no Western businesses will want to use the process.        博钦律师事务所(Perkins Coie)北京办公室合伙人吉莫曼(James Zimmerman)说,如果下周通过的法律最终版本要求这些投诉在中国法院进行审理的话,几乎没有西方企业将愿意使用这个程序。
        Western companies have been afraid of antagonizing Chinese regulators, who have broad powers to retaliate. They have also been reluctant even to tell their home countries’ international trade offices about cases in which they believe Beijing is violating its commitments to the World Trade Organization.        西方企业一直害怕得罪中国的监管机构,这些机构有对企业进行报复的广泛权力。外国企业甚至不愿向本国的国际贸易办公室投诉它们认为北京违背对世界贸易组织承诺的案件。
        So it is far from clear that they will start suing the Chinese government in its own courts.        所以目前还远不清楚,外国企业是否会在中国自己的法庭上起诉中国政府。
        “Why would someone want to involve themselves in a politically driven process like that?” Mr. Zimmerman asked.        “怎么会有人愿意卷入这种政治驱动的过程呢?”吉莫曼问道。

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