Legal Updates for November 2020

Commentary: China Unveils Draft Personal Information Protection Law for Public Consultation

On 21 October 2020, the People’s Republic of China ("PRC") unveiled its highly anticipated draft personal information protection law (中华人民共和国个人信息保护法(草案)) ("Draft PIPL") for public consultation. The Draft PIPL consists of 70 articles divided into 8 Chapters. As the first comprehensive piece of legislation addressing personal information protection in the PRC, the Draft PIPL will have a significant impact on not just organisations conducting businesses within the PRC, but also those operating overseas. This update will examine some of the key highlights of the Draft PIPL.

Signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement by 15 Asia-Pacific Countries

On 15 November 2020, the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ("ASEAN") – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam – in conjunction with Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand, signed the world's largest free trade agreement to date, known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership ("RCEP") Agreement.

Representing the culmination of eight years of negotiations, the RCEP builds on existing bilateral FTAs among the 15 RCEP Participating Countries ("RPCs"). Together, the RPCs account for about 30% of global gross domestic product and close to a third of the world's population. It signals the RPCs' strong commitment to maintaining open and connected supply chains; broadens individual RPCs' economic linkages and connectivity with the region; and gives them preferential access to the region's growing markets.

We provide an overview of the features of the RCEP below, which improves on the existing ASEAN Plus One agreement in four key areas:

  1. comprehensive trade facilitation measures;
  2. improved market access for Trade in Services;
  3. enhanced investment rules and disciplines; and
  4. expanded scope and commitments.
New Regulations of the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration

The Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Shenzhen City has passed its new regulations on the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration ("SCIA") with effect from 1 October 2020. The new regulations reflect SCIA's response to some long-standing issues of Chinese arbitral practice. It marks a significant step taken by SCIA towards aligning itself with international arbitral practice.

In this Update, we look at the key features of the new SCIA Regulations, which range from the independent governance of SCIA, the ability of parties to choose a foreign seat and applicable law to govern their dispute, and the diversification of dispute resolution mechanisms.