Press releases and law firm thought leadership
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In February 2014, the China Food and Drug Administration (“CFDA”) invited second-round comments from the public regarding proposed amendments to the China Drug Registration Regulations (“DRR”). One of the proposed amendments touches upon patent protection for drugs in China.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) released a new set of Management Measures for Approval and Filing of Outbound Investment Projects (境外投资项目核准和备案管理办法) (New Measures) on 8 April 2014. The New Measures take effect on 8 May 2014 and will replace the Interim Management Measures for Approval of Outbound Investment Projects (境外投资项目核准暂行管理办法) (Original Measures) which have been in force since 9 October 2004.
On 21 March 2014, CIRC issued the Administrative Measures on the Acquisition and Merger of Insurance Companies (the Insurance M&A Measures) which will take effect from 1 June 2014. The Insurance M&A Measures apply to M&A activities whereby an insurance company is the target for a merger or acquisition. The target insurance company could be either a domestic or a foreign invested insurer. However, the Insurance M&A Measures will not apply to any equity investment by insurance companies in non-insurance companies in China or in overseas insurance companies.
The Regulations on Supervision and Administration of Medical Devices (in Chinese《医疗器械监督管理条例》, State Council Order No. 650) (the Medical Device Regulations) were amended by China's State Council on 31 March 2014 and will come into effect on 1 June 2014. This is the first amendment in more than a decade since the Medical Device Regulations were first promulgated in 2000, even though the amendment was initiated eight years ago in 2006. The 2014 amendment unveils reforms on the regulatory regime for medical devices market in China from various aspects.
Walking a fine line in China:Distinguishing between legitimate commercial deals and commercial bribe
China in the 21st century exemplifies an atmosphere of great opportunity and intense competition. Against this backdrop, it has become increasingly common for businesses to adopt a variety of practices in order to make their products and services competitive. Such practices may include paying middle-men to promote sales and giving incentives to buyers directly. However, whilst revenue spikes are undoubtedly welcome, businesses should bear in mind the potential backlash arising out of these commercial arrangements. The risk that such arrangements may not comply with anti-bribery and corruption laws and therefore cause business significant damage in the long term should not be underestimated.
As of 2013, China had 9,800 private hospitals, representing almost half of the total number of hospitals in the country1. However, private hospitals still severely lag behind their public peers due to low utilisation, talent shortages and incomplete social insurance coverage. As part of China's ongoing healthcare reform initiatives, the Chinese government has set a goal to increase the share of patients treated by private hospitals to 20% by the end of 20152.
The recent official launch of Shanghai International Medical Center (SIMC) (the first international private hospital jointly funded by private capital and government capital) will, it is hoped, mark a new chapter in China's hospital reform efforts.
On 30 November 2014, the State Council of China released a draft Deposit Insurance Regulation (the Draft), to establish a deposit insurance system in order to "protect interests of depositors, prevent and mitigate financial risks and maintain a stabilised financial system". The public are invited to submit comments on the Draft by 30 December 2014.
The Draft follows the recent move by the People' Bank of China (PBOC, the central bank) to further free interest rates by increasing the deposit-rate cap to 1.2 times the benchmark from 1.1 times. If introduced, the Draft will be a significant step forward for interest rate liberalisation, and as some commentaries in the banking industry have remarked, allow banks to fail.
Following earlier reforms of the PRC's anti-corruption rules (for further information, please see our previous briefings published in January 2013 and March 2011), the National People's Congress (NPC) has recently published a proposed amendment to the PRC Criminal Law in draft form for public comments (the Draft). The Draft expands the reach of official bribery offences, gives more autonomy to judges to inflict severe punishments, and generally increases the level and type of punishments that can be imposed on individuals who commit bribery offences. It further demonstrates the government's determination to tackle corruption in China.
Compliance officers should be aware of these changes and should update their compliance policies and best practices correspondingly.
The State Council of China recently released amendments to the Foreign Bank Administrative Regulations of China (the Amendments) with effect from 1 January 2015.
The Amendments have lifted various restrictions applicable to foreign-invested banks in respect of market entry to, and business operations (with regard to RMB business in particular) in, China as a significant move to further open up the banking sector to foreign investments.
The world has no borders and distance is negligible for the technologically savvy criminal. Individuals with illicit funds to launder or terrorist activities to finance can, with the latest technology, transfer high volumes of money around the globe almost instantaneously and seek to conceal the origin or the destination of the funds.
Singapore, though it boasts one of the lowest crime rates in the world (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Report on International Statistics on Crime and Justice (2010)), is not immune to inherent cross-border money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) risks. Ranked by the International Monetary Fund as one of the 25 systemically important financial centres in the world, Singapore's openness as an international financial centre and transport hub with a high volume of transactions and wide international reach exposes it to inherent ML/TF risks, the bulk of which originate overseas. Singapore's reputable financial infrastructure could ironically be targeted as a transit point or safe haven for illicit funds.