Photo of James M. Zimmerman

James M. Zimmerman

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  • J.D., University of San Diego, 1987
  • M.B.A., University of California, Irvine, 1984
  • B.A.,University of California, Irvine, 1982
  • California
  • US Court of International Trade (CIT) in New York
  • Registered foreign lawyer with the Chinese Ministry of Justice since 1998
Publications & News

Mr. Zimmerman is a partner in the Corporate practice group in the firm's Beijing office.

Areas of Practice

Mr. Zimmerman is former chairman emeritus of the American Chamber of Commerce China, which represents more than 3,000 US companies and individuals with trade and investments in China, and was elected and served as the organization’s chairman for two terms (2007, 2008) and vice chairman for two terms (2005, 2006).

James has been involved with trade-related matters for 25 years and represents US companies in a broad range of industries with respect to their joint venture investments, manufacturing investments, liquidation and dissolution of investments, mergers and acquisitions activities, regulatory compliance, customs and trade matters, labor and employment, intellectual property rights enforcement and dispute resolution matters. In general, his day-to-day work involves helping businesses overcome the complexities of doing business in China, which oftentimes involves obtaining government approvals or seeking government support to enhance or modify current legal or regulatory provisions and practice.

James is recognized as one of Asia’s leading business lawyers in the categories of Chinese Law, Dispute Resolution and General Corporate Law in the AsiaLaw Leading Lawyers Survey 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 (published by Euromoney Publications). James is listed in the 2006, 2007 and 2008 editions of The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers for Arbitration. In addition, he is listed as a Leading Individual in the category of Corporate/M&A for foreign law firms in China in the 2004 through 2009 editions of the AsiaPacific Legal 500: The Guide to Asia’s Commercial Law Firms. The AsiaPacific Legal 500 characterizes James as an “exemplary counselor,” and as having a “longstanding track record of taking leading investors into China.”

In addition to matters involving the People’s Republic of China, James has significant trade and investment-related experience in a broad range of countries including throughout Asia and the Pacific Region (e.g., India, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, New Zealand and Australia), North, Central and Latin America (e.g., Canada, Mexico, Colombia and Brazil), the Middle East (e.g., Saudi Arabia and Israel) and the European Union.

Representative Experience

  • Providing counsel to multinational businesses in establishing, reorganizing, and merger and acquisition activities with respect to foreign investments in the automotive, industrial equipment, food manufacturing equipment, aviation and airport equipment, construction and engineering, pharmaceutical and medical device, petroleum and petrochemicals, IT and telecommunications, retail and franchising, and other industry groups.
  • Providing counsel to parties outside China on various high-profile infrastructure projects in the airport, rail, telecom, utilities and water supply, and other government procurements; specifically provided assistance in negotiating and preparing teaming and consortium agreements, technology-related contracts, bid proposals and tender contracts, performance guarantees and surety bonds, and general consultation on procurement matters in China.
  • Advising various parties outside China before China Customs on customs audits and investigations, penalty proceedings and general customs compliance issues.
  • Advising various global companies outside China on product testing, product registration and approvals, import licensing, applications for sales permits, product inspection and factory audits.
  • Providing counsel to China-based parties and other Asia-based entities in antidumping cases before US government agencies.
  • Advising parties on World Trade Organization compliance-related issues including the development of strategies for raising noncompliance issues to the Chinese government.
  • Providing counsel to China-based companies in litigation matters before various state and federal courts in the United States.
  • Advising parties outside China in arbitration before various arbitral institutions including the CIETAC, the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, the Beijing Arbitration Commission and other arbitral institutions.


China Law Blog Posts

Global Trade Law Blog Posts

James Zimmerman is the author of several books, chapters, and articles concerning trade and China related issues, including the well-recognized China Law Deskbook (1999, 2005, 2010), a publication of the American Bar Association. He is also the author of the book Extraterritorial Application of US Labor Standards (1992) and is the author of articles in a variety of international scholarly journals including, but not limited to, International Labour Review, China Business Review, Journal of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Employment, Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, Cornell International Law Journal, The International Lawyer, Asia Dispute Review and Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review.


Media Mentions

Speaking Engagements

  • "China 2012: Legal, Political, and Business Outlook for 2012 and Beyond," American Bar Association Webinar, November 14, 2012
  • "Protecting Your Intellectual Property: Best Practices for China in 2012," American Bar Association Webinar, August 23, 2012
  • "Due Diligence on Chinese Companies: Methods, Tools and Resources for Determining Fact from Fiction," American Bar Association Webinar, August 9, 2012
  • "Doing Business in China," INCAE Business School Beijing Delegation, September 13, 2011
  • "Ethics in International Arbitration," New York City Bar Association, NYC, September 22, 2011
  • "CIETAC Cases Involving Multiple Parties," China International Economic & Trade Arbitration Commission, September 28, 2011
  • "China Briefing," Beijing Delegation, Pasadena/Glendale Chamber of Commerce, October 14, 2011


  • Chairman, American Chamber of Commerce in China
  • Panel of Mediators for the US-China Business Mediation Center (jointly operated by CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade)
  • Panel of arbitrators for the China International Economic & Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC, Beijing, Shanghai, and South China Sub-Commission)
  • Board of Directors for the CPR Institute of Dispute Resolution and a member of the Business Advisory Council to the United Nations Development Program’s Greater Tumen Initiative (supporting development, trade and investment in North East Asia)(2008-2012)