MEMBER PROFILE: FBT & G4C BOARD MEMBER Rhonda Schechter

Chinese Chamber Member Profile

Frost Brown Todd is a full-service law firm serving some of America’s top corporations and emerging companies. With attorneys regularly identified by clients, peers and industry organizations as leaders in their practice areas, the firm advises and protects clients in business transactions and litigation in many industries, including insurance, financial services, manufacturing, real estate, construction, energy and health care. More than 500 attorneys in 12 offices in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia provide unparalleled service to meet clients’ needs; deliver the insights and solutions available only from a diverse group of professionals. Our international team helps U.S. businesses grow and operate abroad and assists foreign businesses with expansion into the U.S.  To learn more about our range of services, visit frostbrowntodd.com.

Rhonda B. Schechter, Senior Associate, Frost Brown Todd LLC.

Rhonda is an attorney in the Health Law and Corporate/Business practice groups at Frost Brown Todd LLC, and serves as the Secretary of the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce. She assists clients, particularly those in the health care industry, with a range of business issues including mergers and acquisitions, vendor and physician contracts, and compliance with Medicare/Medicaid conditions of participation and other regulatory schemes. She has broad-based experience advising clients on hospice care, medical residency programs, and meaningful use of electronic health records.

Rhonda received her J.D. in 2009, graduating first in her class (summa cum laude) from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law, where she served on the editorial board of the Northern Kentucky Law Review and as a justice of the Moot Court Board. Prior to receiving her J.D., she taught college language courses and worked with various international businesses as an administrator and consultant. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Japanese Studies and French from Earlham College and a Master of Arts degree in East Asian Studies from Indiana University. Rhonda is fluent in French, conversational in Mandarin Chinese and also speaks some Japanese.

Rhonda is a graduate of the “Boardway Bound” program offered by ArtsWave (formerly the Fine Arts Fund) to train individuals to serve as board members for local arts organizations. She served on the board of Bi-Okoto Cultural Institute and currently serves on the board of directors of The Children’s Law Center, an organization based in Covington, KY that works to protect and enhance the legal rights of children.

New shipping requirements for China: ZIKA anti-mosquito treatment

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China’s AQSIQ (China’s Quality, Inspection and Quarantine Authority) recently released new shipping requirement from Zika affected countries (the USA falls into this category) as follows:

In order to prevent the spread of the ZIKA virus, transportation and containers from all involved countries and regions to China Ports shall be required to anti-mosquito treatment, without mosquito treatment proof must subject to treatment at Port of Discharge by local inspector immediately. China Entry-exit inspection and quarantine authorities will follow the quarantine regulations strictly for shipments from these countries and regions to China.

Click here to download the China AQSIQ Announcement – ZIKA anti-mosquito treatment

Weakening of the Chinese Yuan

by Kevin Kahn and Jin Kong

Photo by Seongjoon Cho/Bloomberg

Photo by Seongjoon Cho/Bloomberg

China’s gradual devaluation of currency has gotten much attention lately. It has stirred speculations from deliberate currency war to a weakened economy signaling troubles ahead. In all likelihood, China is trying to stimulate more exports and remain competitive domestically against foreign imports. But as the RMB becomes a reserve currency, China is also very keen on keeping it stable and the fluctuations narrow.

A weaker RMB against the dollar does mean higher prices for selling US-made goods in China. Although China is transitioning into a consumption based economy, the pace of consumption is nowhere near where it would be if China was still on double digit growth. As of late, China’s growth is mostly concentrated in exports and it is questionable if importing into China is as easy and lucrative as others would make us believe.

Not surprisingly, the RMB has strengthened against the British Pound. China and Britain have also been forging ever-closer relationships. While we can speculate whether China can be the saving grace to the controversial Brexit vote, we are certain the currency fluctuations have made British-manufactured goods more competitive in China than US-manufactured goods.

It is important to remember China is still a centrally planned economy and its currency devaluation is very much deliberate and strategic, likely independent of any foreign influences. It is important to be proactive; after all, it is much more productive to flow with the changes than to complain against it. There is not much one can do about the Chinese government’s policies but as Bruce Lee once said, be like water.

Frequent evaluation of the exchange rate and aggressive negotiation of prices is key to staying ahead and maximizing your margins. If you are sourcing from China and you have not received a price reduction from your vendors, now is a good time to push for one. Generally accepted revaluation practice, if not outlined in a contract, is a 3% swing in pricing. With a 4.6% devaluation in 2016, it is worth the effort to ask for a reduction in pricing on Chinese purchased goods.

If you are selling to China, you may want to reevaluate your business operations and hedge against risks where you can. Since you will need to evaluate the structural and transaction risks more carefully, diligence and completeness is key. Adjusting the sales price is only one way, the key is to focus on cash-flow, supply chain, competitor actions, and consumer preferences in China. It may be difficult to hedge against risks with pricing adjustments alone, but process innovation and efficiency improvements together can be helpful.

For those seeking investors from China, now would be a very advantageous time to reach out, as Chinese businesses and personal investors alike are looking for opportunities to invest in foreign denominated investments – to hedge their assets against a declining Yuan.

If you would like to explore ways to strengthen your business opportunities with China, Kevin Kahn of K2 Industrial Controls Int’l Ltd and Jin Kong of Kong Esq., LLC can be of assistance. Just contact us at info@china-midwest.com to get connected.

E-Commerce in China & Beyond Seminar

E-commerce Flyer Final

In 2015, Chinese consumers spent close to 4 trillion yuan ($589.61 Billion) buying goods online. China’s web sales surpassed U.S. in 2013, making it by far the world’s largest e-commerce market. The major drivers in China’s e-commerce boom have been cross-border sales, mobile sales, and e-commerce in villages.

To better understand e-commerce in China and the disruptive nature of market players, we are bringing together a panel of experts to discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead. Please join us on August 29th at 6:30PM for this enlightening panel discussion. We welcome Ken Ma (via teleconference) of Tmall Global, Richard Cant of Dezan Shira, and Joe Dehner of Frost Brown Todd to share their experiences and insights in looking ahead and navigating the prosperous e-commerce channels of China and beyond.

About Tmall. Tmall is China’s premier B2C online retail market, operated by the Chinese e-commerce giant The Alibaba Group. It achieved 200 billion RMB ($32 Billion) gross merchandise volume in 2012 offering products from more than 70,000 merchants. Many multinational brands, such as Nike, Gap, Levi’s, Lacoste, Microsoft, Sony, P&G, Nestle, Toys-R-Us, etc., operate flagship stores on Tmall.

Speakers:

Ken Ma – Director of Int’l Development, Tmall Global (Alibaba Group)
Ken has 10+ years global e-commerce business experience in China. He help developed over 100 top international brands for Tmall.com and is currently the head of Tmall’s international business development team for cross border e-commerce. Prior to Tmall, he managed Alibaba’s markets in Indonesia, Brazil and Japan, and had developed the company’s markets in Malaysia and Vietnam.

Richard Cant – North American Director, Dezan Shira & Associates (Boston)
Richard guides North American individuals and companies through the process of establishing, maintaining, and expanding their businesses in China. His areas of practice include: corporate accounting and compliance, establishing businesses in China and Hong Kong, due diligence and M&A, and taxation planning and structuring. Prior to Dezan Shira & Associates, Richard was an Australian lawyer and Certified Public Accountant, and was also a partner at Ernst & Young Australia. He has worked in business and commercial consulting both in Australia and China for the past 20 years.

Joe Dehner – Member, Frost Brown Todd
Joe chairs this 500+-attorney law firm’s International Services Group.  He advises global businesses from large to small on a broad variety of business matters, including data privacy, product and services distribution, multinational business structures, compliance, tax and other issues.  He has advised U.S., Chinese and other businesses on e-commerce matters since the start of the digital age.

Moderated by Jin Kong, G4C Chairman 2016-17.

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