Beveridge & Diamond
 

Global Watch: Accelerating Chinese Environmental Regulatory Developments

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., August 18, 2014

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The pace and scale of environmental and natural resource regulation in China grew significantly in the first half of 2014, and these trends are poised to continue in 2015 and beyond.  Among the most significant were far-reaching amendments to China’s basic Environmental Protection Law (EPL), which become effective on January 1, 2015, and a further directive from the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) regarding the obligations of facility owners to address contaminated property when they transfer operations to other locations.  These developments portend a new, highly uncertain, but perhaps somewhat more transparent, phase of environmental governance in China that bears close monitoring by U.S. companies doing business in China.  At the same time, Chinese investment in the U.S. energy, chemical, and manufacturing sectors has increased substantially in the last few years, presenting possible business opportunities for U.S. entities.

As part of Beveridge & Diamond’s international environmental practice, Firm principals Karl Bourdeau and Scott Fulton recently returned from their third trip to China in the last ten months.  During this most recent trip, Mssrs. Bourdeau and Fulton participated in a roundtable discussion that Beveridge & Diamond helped organize to discuss the recent EPL amendments.  Roundtable participants included Chinese law school professors highly engaged in Chinese environmental law and policy developments, environmental law judges, and representatives of law firms in China, the U.S. and the UK with environmental practices. The participants have discussed the roundtable with MEP officials, who have expressed interest in it. Current roundtable participants have agreed to invite MEP to participate, so that it might provide a forum for discussion among relevant stakeholders of emerging environmental policy and regulation in China.

At the invitation of MEP’s Policy Research Center for Environment and Economy (PRCEE), Mssrs. Bourdeau and Fulton spoke at a PRCEE-hosted seminar on the use in the U.S. of environmental pollution liability insurance and other financial assurance mechanisms to strengthen enterprises’ financial responsibility for environmental performance.  The recent EPL amendments “encourage” use of environmental liability insurance, and the Chinese government is exploring ways in which an environmental insurance market can be developed and employed.

Recent informational resources prepared by Beveridge & Diamond on Chinese environmental developments include:

Beveridge & Diamond is preparing a more detailed analysis of the EPL amendments.  Please contact us if you would like to receive, at no cost, a copy of this analysis once it is prepared.

Beveridge & Diamond advises Chinese companies on the environmental considerations of doing business in the U.S. and, through a relationship with a network of qualified Chinese law firms, provides assistance to multi-national companies with environmental needs in China.  For more information, please contact Karl Bourdeau or Scott Fulton.    

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