« Winter 2010 CCS Noon Lecture Series - Michele Matteini | Main | Winter 2010 CCS Noon Lecture Series - Bridie Andrews-Minehan »

January 27, 2010

Winter 2010 CCS Noon Lecture Series - Nicholas Howson

Dirty Water - The Danone-Wahaha Battle and Law, Politics and Contested Value in the PRC

April 6, 2010
Tuesday 12 noon to 1:00 pm
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building
1080 South University

On September 30, 2009, the long dispute between Hanzhou's Wahaha and Danone of France was settled, with the French multinational agreeing to sell its 51% equity stake in as many as 39 joint ventures to Wahaha for just US$300 million. The battle had spawned complex litigation and arbitrations in the PRC, Europe, and North America, and a bitter, inflammatory, campaign by Wahaha and its founder Zong Qinghou alleging foreign misappropriation of Chinese value and broadly condemning the direct foreign investment regime in place since the late 1970s. In his presentation, Professor Howson will describe the long-running dispute, its setting amidst pronounced global trade imbalance, the legal, commercial and political arguments of each side, and finally what the dispute means for China's legal system and its legal institutions going forward.

Nicholas Calcina Howson is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan Law School, and a graduate of Williams College (B.A., 1983) and the Columbia Law School (J.D., 1988). Prior to Law School, he spent two years (1983-5) as a graduate fellow at Fudan University in Shanghai doing work in late Qing Dynasty Chinese literature. In the Autumn of 1988, he returned to China on a CLEEC/Ford Foundation fellowship to complete research at Beijing University in Qing penal law. Professor Howson joined the New York-based international law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in 1988, and was elected partner of that firm in 1996. Between 1988 and 2003, Howson worked out of the firm’s New York headquarters, and also had extended postings in London, Paris and Beijing, finally as a managing partner of the firm’s China Practice based in Beijing. Howson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and a designated foreign arbitrator for the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) in Beijing, and is a past Chairman of the Asian Affairs Committee of the New York Bar Association. In 2008-9, he represented Danone in the Danone-Wahaha disputes.

Posted by zzhu at January 27, 2010 03:33 PM