Jindal Global Law School (JGLS) of O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU), Institute of BRICS Legal Studies of the East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL) and Dentons Shanghai Office recently organized the inaugural 'China India Legal Forum', a high level conference on the theme of 'How to Avoid Legal Risks While Investing in India'. The forum was organized as part of a collaborative initiative between the host institutions and was held at East China University of Political Science and Law in Changning Qu, Shanghai, China.
Participants to the conference were drawn from academia, industry, law firms and government and public policy institutions from India and China. Dr. EMS Natchiappan, Former Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Senior Parliamentarian and currently President, Indian Society of International Law and Mr. R Venkataramani, Distinguished Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of India and former member, Law Commission of India also participated in the discussion.
Experts at the forum deliberated on four key themes including; Attracting FDI in India and China: Learning from the Best Practice, Critical Legal Framework for FDI: Labor, Land and Taxation, Commercial dispute resolution mechanism in India and China and Typical legal challenges faced by Chinese investors in India. Discussions also focused on generating fresh and practical knowledge for the upcoming BRICS Summit slated to be held in Xiamen, China.
Speaking at the forum, Professor, C Raj Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, JGU said, "We share deep and pervasive ties with the ECUPL, and are committed to strengthening our relationship through continuous exchange and interaction. The University level cooperation agreements signed today will further help to enhance and deepen our ties with ECUPL, which is amongst the leading universities of China and the world."
Highlighting the importance of the theme of the conference, Professor Kumar noted that it was important to open institutional mechanisms to navigate and reduce risks for foreign investment in India. He said, "For the last few decades Governments in India have shown wider political commitment, and there was political consensus for attracting FDI. There is a need for increasing convergence of the mindset of individuals and institutions to reduce and navigate risks."
Speaking at the forum, Mr. R. Venkataramani, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India, observed, "Foreign investments being a class by themselves and which fill an economic vacuum, deserve a differential treatment in several respects. The conglomerate of laws relevant in this regard, including the commercial courts law, warrant a review. Expedition of all processes are desirable, subject of course to national concerns. A consolidated foreign investment code may help."
Dr. EM Sudarsana Natchiappan, spoke on the 'Role Difference on Parliament and Union Government on Regulating FDI in India and said, "Since India is a democratic Republic Union of States there will be transparency and predictability of the policy of government to reflect the aspirations and protect the welfare of the people. The term of office of the political representatives and heads (Ministers) based on elections as per Constitution of India, the working of the government is in consonance to the Parliament even though opposition parties have to present their view to the knowledge of people at large. The rule of law and vibrant Judiciary are complementary strengths and work as checks and balances of power as the architecture of Constitution is finely made and enforced. All these are amenable to welcoming FDI in India."
The China India Legal Forum is a joint annual forum organized by JGU and ECUPL. The conference seeks to serve as a think-tank for policy dialogues between governments of the two countries and promote civil society based communication and interaction in India and China. The idea for the forum was conceived during the visit of a delegation from JGU to ECUPL in April this year. ECUPL and JGU also signed a University level cooperation agreement at the joint forum, under the new agreement, both institutions have proposed to create an institutional framework for focusing on BRICS by setting up a 'Centre for BRICS Legal Studies' and organizing a first-of-its-kind 'India China Moot Court Competition' that will be open to Law Schools from across the world.
Professor Dabiru Sridhar Patnaik, Director, Centre for Post Graduate Legal Studies, JGLS, while speaking on 'Policy and Legal Considerations on Foreign Direct Investment and India,' said, "India is considered a safer jurisdiction to invest. It has vibrant democracy based on constitutional rule of law. Investors need not worry about issues like nationalization, expropriation, confiscation; distribution of private property etc. Legal framework is available to protect interests of foreign investors making investments in India. India stands on the threshold of becoming a major contributor in the world economy."
Professor Wenjuan Zhang, Associate Professor and Executive Director of the Centre for India China Studies at JGLS, remarked, "It is necessary to understand India's constitutional governance which adopts parliamentary government and judicial independence. That means the role of court and the role of government will be different from that of China. Religion, culture and other factors have strong influence on the law making especially on the law enforcement. Trust deficit between India and China is another big factor that has an impact on Chinese investment in India."
Speaking on 'Regulatory Framework Governing Mergers and Acquisitions in India,' Arjya Majumdar, Associate Professor, JGLS observed, "China, as one of the fastest growing sources of FDI for India, holds considerable significance for M&A activity in India. It is imperative therefore, that Chinese investors are well versed with the nuances of regulations relating to M&A in India."
Other JGU faculty members who participated in the conference included, James Nedumpara, Associate Professor, JGLS who spoke on 'Foreign Direct Investment in India and China: The Role of Economic Treaties' and Anuranjan Sethi, Assistant Professor, JGLS who spoke on 'India's Foreign Direct Investment Regulation Framework' while Faiz Tajuddin, Assistant Professor at JGLS deliberated the 'Critical Legal Framework for FDI in India and Labour Issues' at the international forum.
It is estimated that China will step into the top five Indian FDI countries in the near future and trade between both countries has been on a steady increase. It is no doubt that better legal knowledge will help with better business. The annual forum is expected to be a platform for policy researchers, policymakers, business entrepreneurs and legal professionals for identifying and addressing the legal and business problems involved in China-India economic relations.
The 2nd China India Legal Forum is proposed to be held in Delhi/Sonipat in February 2018.