Nota Bene Episode 167: New Restrictions on Investment in China with Michael Zhang and Reid Whitten of Sheppard Mullin


In this episode, Michael Zhang, managing partner of Sheppard Mullin's Shanghai office, and Reid Whitten, managing partner of the firm's London office, join host Scott Maberry to discuss a new law that, for the first time, will prevent some U.S. investments in China.

What We Discussed in This Episode:

  • Why would the United States impose a new trade restriction on its third-largest trading partner?
  • Can you provide a high-level overview of the new law and what it's designed to do?
  • The executive order refers to "countries of concern" but only lists China. Why was it framed this way?
  • How is this policy viewed from the Chinese perspective?
  • What are the concerns of the Chinese business community regarding this policy?
  • Can you explain why this policy might be characterized as a reverse CFIUS?
  • When do you think specific prohibitions will take effect?
  • Who is prohibited from making investments under this regulation?
  • What investments are being targeted and why?
  • How does the investment community view these restrictions?
  • How might these restrictions impact U.S. passport or green card holders working for either a Chinese company or an entity that invests in targeted sectors?
  • What trends do you see in the future, especially regarding changes or expansion of the regulation?
  • Should we expect to see a Chinese regulatory response?

About Michael Zhang

Michael Zhang is a lawyer and the managing partner of Sheppard Mullin's Shanghai office. He has a deep understanding of China's legal system and business practices, as well as broad experience in corporate transactions, corporate restructuring, antitrust law, intellectual property, cybersecurity, and personal information protection law in China.

Throughout his career, Michael has represented many U.S. and European clients making investments in China and Asia, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and debt restructurings. He has helped invest in and create business in the internet technology, life sciences, healthcare, automotive, logistics, material hi-tech, telecommunication and software sectors.

His extensive knowledge of international business transactions has allowed Michael to represent leading Chinese companies in their outbound equity and asset transactions outside Mainland China, specifically in life science and healthcare, e-commerce and green technology. Drawing on his rich knowledge of antitrust laws in China and other East Asian countries, Michael also counsels U.S. and international clients, as well as Chinese local companies, on international and PRC antitrust issues with respect to pre-merger control, price fixing and monopolistic agreement issues.

About Reid Whitten

As Managing Partner of Sheppard Mullin’s London office and leader of the firm’s CFIUS Team, Reid Whitten’s practice centers on international trade regulations and investigations. He works with clients around the world to plan, prepare, and succeed in global transactions. He focuses on his clients’ cross-border investments, particularly in the technology and aerospace sectors, helping clients navigate the international trade regulations that could disrupt their deals.

Reid is a member of Chatham House, the UK's Royal Institute of International Affair. In addition to lecturing at the New College of the Humanities in London, at the Université Catholique de Lille in France, and Wake Forest University in the U.S, he also conducts seminars on regulatory updates for industry groups in the U.S., France, Belgium, Spain and the UK.

A thought leader on cross-border business regulation, Reid is frequently called upon to provide commentary and analysis for television news channels, international newspapers, and trade publications. He is also the lead author and editor of The CFIUS Book.

About Scott Maberry

As an international trade partner in Governmental Practice, J. Scott Maberry counsels clients on global risk, international trade, and regulation. He is also a past co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group for the Washington D.C. office, serves on the firm's pro bono committee, and is a founding member of the Sheppard Mullin Organizational Integrity Group.

Scott's practice includes representing clients before the U.S. government agencies and international U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry & Security (BIS), the Department of Commerce Import Administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the International Trade Commission (ITC), and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS). He also represents clients in federal court and grand jury proceedings, as well as those pursuing negotiations and dispute resolution under the World Trade Organization (WTO), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other multilateral and bilateral agreements.

A member of the World Economic Forum Expert Network, Scott also advises the WEF community in the areas of global risk, international trade, artificial intelligence and values.

Contact Information

Michael Zhang

Reid Whitten

Scott Maberry


Executive Order on Addressing United States Investments in Certain National Security Technologies and Products in Countries of Concern

Treasury Department Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Previous episodes featuring Reid Whitten:

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