China and the US: Their Legal Influence on One Another

June 3, 2016

The laws that govern employment in one nation have an impact on other nations, too. This is perhaps most true when it comes to China and US. In this era of globalized trade, the way that a nation creates jobs and governs employment will inevitably affect commerce. Many products that sell in the United States are made in China. Many American workers, particularly professionals, leave the United States to work in China. Though Chinese employment laws aren’t necessarily of concern to American law firms and businesses alike, these laws and regulations affect people, and they affect trade. Chinese laws’ affect on the United States is inescapable.

To China’s credit, it must be acknowledged that the country has taken great steps to implement employment law reform. This reform has been influenced mainly by the West. American laws have ignited great debate in China, and have inspired conversations about the future of the Chinese legal system. Although China enthusiastically engages in commerce, its legal system remains socialist. China intends to retain its law system’s Chinese characteristics. Despite this, though, Chinese legal commentators have accepted that a legal system that can be understood by the West is needed due to heavy trade with the West and the West’s investment in China.

The new General Principles of the Chinese civil code have revolutionized the law in China. However, a problem has been highlighted. Chinese government officials are simply not used to applying civil law to commercial activities. This has become evident in the sphere of employment. Numerous Western and American companies have factories in China. New statutes have been implemented to govern the relationships between China and these foreign companies. The problem is that employment practices in China are simply not as rigorous or as favorable to workers as the United States’. Companies such as Apple have come under fire for allowing the abuse of workers. This is the case even where Chinese labor laws are being breached, as recent investigative reports have revealed.

After China began to implement legal reform, the country saw huge economic growth. This is no coincidence. Due to the Internet, Western companies have become acutely aware of the importance of corporate social responsibility and the need to portray a less ruthless image to their consumers, despite the economic imperatives of the market. Chinese workers are quickly becoming acutely aware of their rights. As Chinese workers agitate for improved rights, the pressure for foreign companies to ensure that their factories abide by new laws and international labor standards has increased.

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