PANEL OF LAWYERS: An international panel of Asian American lawyers discussed how business is being conducted in Asia at Masuda Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd. at 203 N. LaSalle St. in Downtown Chicago, last Jan. 12 during a Pre-Asian Lunar New Year Reception Featuring Honored & Special Guest Philippine Consul General Generoso D. G. Calonge sponsored by the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (WBAI) headed by Filipino American Judge Jessica Arong O’Brien and other lawyers’ groups. Photo shows from left Han Zhang, Michael P. Chu, Deborah H. Telman, Ge (Linda) Lie and Shizu Machino. (JGL Photo by Joseph G. Lariosa)
By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
CHICAGO (JGL via PhilAmPress) – Foreign investors are guaranteed a 100 percent ownership and they have the right to remit their profits when doing business in the Philippines.
Consul General Generoso D. G. Calonge of the Philippine Consulate General in Midwest based in Chicago, Illinois told predominantly Asian American lawyers that the Philippines also guarantees foreign investors that the Philippine government honors foreigners’ investments and their right to pay their foreign obligations and their right to invest in the southeast Asian nation.
In unwrapping the foreign investor friendly policies, Consul General Calonge also invited the several dozens of international lawyers to sample tourist spots in the Philippines like the “islands of Boracay and Palawan, which are truly beautiful places. With media attention, (these tourist spots) have attracted 4.4-million international arrivals … from January to October” in 2015, registering a double-digit 11.13% growth compared with the same period in 2014.
During a forum at the Pre-Asian Lunar New Year Reception of Doing Business in Asia sponsored by the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (WBAI) headed by Filipino American Judge Jessica Arong O’Brien of the Circuit Court of Cook County and the first Filipino elected judge in Illinois that preceded Mr. Calonge’s speech, one of the lawyers in the panel discussed how some of the Asian countries conduct business in Asia.
Michael P. Chu, a partner of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, a Chicago-based international law firm, said business transactions in China are conducted by task wage or piece rate, not by hourly rate as done in the United States.
Attorney Chu said, “If I ask someone to fix my refrigerator in China for $100. I don’t care how many days the (repairman) will fix it. But here in the U.S., you have to pay him by the hour.”
The other members of the panel were Shizu Machino, an associate of Kitahama Partners of Tokyo, Japan; Ge (Linda) Lie, an Associate Attorney of Law offices of Robins & Associates and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnology from Wuhan University, China; Deborah H. Telman, Vice President and General Counsel for Johnson Controls, Inc., Corporate Legal Services based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Han Zhang, an Associate Attorney at Tian Chi Jun Tai Law Firm in Beijing, China.
During the forum, it was also discussed that while American lawyers are openly self-promoting their law practice by posting them in huge advertising billboards, in some countries, like the Philippines, Consul General Calonge, who is also a Philippine lawyer and holds a masters of law degree from Harvard, “the most that Philippine lawyers can advertise is a one line in a phone book. You cannot say about your field of expertise. Maybe your firm has experts but you cannot say you are an expert in this.”
Mr. Calonge also noted that when foreign lawyers come to the Philippines, these visiting foreign lawyers are “patronizing” but they start with their remarks, “In our country,” or “In my country,” which send “negative tones among local lawyers.” But he added, “Law has its own life in every jurisdiction. Laws arose out of circumstances.”
Mr. Calonge, who was the featured honored and special guest at a forum held at Masuda Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd. at 203 N. LaSalle St. in Downtown Chicago, last Jan. 12, said the Philippine economy “has been performing extraordinarily well the past few years.
“So much so that it has earned investment grade status from not one but several international credit rating agencies. The Philippines has been called one of the few bright spots in an otherwise booming global economy.
“The Philippine story has been quite very interesting to say the least. The country has gone to many boom and bust cycles. We grow very fast then nosedive. This has been the pattern of Philippine economy from 1946 and maybe ten years ago. There were various strong economic growth but then followed by political and economic crises.
“The sound economic policies of the recent administration however have started to bear fruit. The current Aquino administration, in particular, built its economic program around very simple premise: that good governance is good economics.
“President Aquino’s government strongly advocated a government built on the principles of integrity, transparency and accountability. There is much enthusiasm for the Philippines today mostly stemming from moves to clean up corruptions, rein in budget deficit and improve public infrastructures by partnering with private companies. All these efforts are now starting to bear fruits.
“Economy grew by 6% during the 3rdquarter of 2015. But in 2014, the average growth was 6.1%, outperforming many of our Southeast Asian neighbors. In 2013, growth was a stunning 7.2% despite unfortunate impact of typhoon Haiyan towards the year’s end.”
Mr. Calonge said the Philippines has drawn positive reviews from such economic indicators as the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Reports, Heritage Foundation Economic Freedom Index, the Global Information Technology Report, the Travel and Tourism Report, and the World Bank International Finance Corporation.
Other sponsors of the event are Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago, Asian American Executive Network, Chinese American Bar Association, Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, Hispanic National Bar Association, Indian American Bar Association and Korean Bar Association. (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com)