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19th China-US Legal Exchange Seminar at Tsinghua Law School

On January 13, 2015, Tsinghua Law School held the 19th China-U.S. Legal Exchange Seminar. The seminar was hosted by the Ministry of Commerce, Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council of China and the U.S. Ministry of Commerce and co-organized by Tsinghua Law School. The seminar’s theme was “U.S. Legal Approach to Air Pollution Prevention and E-Commerce Data Protection”.  Since the seminar series began in 1994, this was the first time a China-U.S. Legal Exchange Seminar was held at a Chinese university. 

In attendance at the seminar were Tsinghua Law School Dean Wang Zhenmin, representatives from China and U.S. Ministry of Commerce, Environmental Protection Administration, Foreign Affairs Departments, colleges and universities, enterprises, research institutions, business associations, as well as teachers and students from Tsinghua University.

The opening speeches looked back on the distinguished history of the China-U.S. legal exchange seminar. The opening speakers, China’s Ministry of Commerce Assistant Minister Tong Daochi and U.S. Ministry of Commerce General Legal Counsel Kerry Wales as well as Legal Affairs Office of State Council Deputy Director Yuan Shuhong and Vice President Yang Bin, recognized and appraised the seminar series’ positive function in advancing bilateral communication on the economy, trade, and law.

During the seminar, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Vice General Legal Council Ethan Shenkman and Senior Lawyer Steve Wolfson as well as William Schulte of (U.S.) Vermont Law School’s U.S.-Asia Environment Protection Law Partnership Research Institute presented speeches describing their substantial experience regarding environment protection law, legal instruments on realizing environmental protection targets, and environment protection public interest litigation and defense. Afterwards, several experts spoke on the U.S.’s experience on improving the Internet safety framework, informational requirements of U.S. commerce data safety and leaking, and commerce data protection from IBM’s perspective. The experts speaking on these topics were U.S. Institute of National Standard and Technology Senior Information Technology Policy Adviser Adam Sedgewick, U.S. Federal Trade Commission Senior International Consumer Protection Adviser Betsy Broder , and Vice President and CTO of IBM Greater China Josephine Cheng.

Chinese experts made comments on presenters’ speeches and responded to questions from the audience. These distinguished Chinese participants included Tsinghua University Environmental Resource and Energy Law Research Center Deputy Director and Associate Professor Deng Haifeng, China Environment Science Institute Vice Dean and Professor Chai Fahe, China E-Commerce Association Legal Policy Committee Deputy Director and Professor Alamus, Beijing Normal University Internet Policy and Law Research Center Director and Professor Ren Xuehong, and Foreign Trade University Cross-Border Electronic Commerce Research Center Director and Professor Wang Jian,

The seminar closed with speakers expressing warm sentiments of the proceedings. In the closing ceremony, U.S. Ministry of Commerce General Legal Counsel Kerry Wales spoke highly of the effective exchange and passion in the seminar. Ministry of Commerce Assistant Minister Dr. Tong Daochi remarked on the successful holding of the seminar and the positive role played in advancing bilateral communication on trade and related laws between China and the U.S. Tsinghua Law School Vice Dean and Professor Shen Weixing expressed the experience of the U.S. on environmental protection and e-commerce had referential significance for the legislation, enforcement, and academic research of China’s environmental protection law and e-commerce data protection law. He also hoped that there would be more international legal discussion at Tsinghua Law School in order to accelerate the speed of internationalization of Tsinghua Law School and China’s legal education.