Zhiwei Chen concentrates his practice on international trade, customs and regulatory compliance law.

Clients benefit from his extensive experience and insight in managing the risks and maximizing the opportunities associated with China’s increasing regulation of international trade in goods and services. Mr. Chen brings to clients an unusual blend of regulatory, transactional, and litigation experience, which  makes him a trusted adviser on various complex China customs and regulatory compliance issues.

With his nuanced understanding of regulatory landscapes, Mr. Chen regularly helps multinational and Fortune 500 clients create business strategies to optimize supply chain models, develop corporate compliance procedures and provide training, conduct internal audits or investigations and navigate self-disclosure to customs and other regulatory agencies. Clients also regularly call up Mr. Chen to represent them in customs audits and in dealing with seizures, forfeitures and other enforcement actions. He has successfully defended Fortune 500 companies in a number of high-profile customs audit and investigation cases, including a primary case investigated directly under the supervision of China's General Administration of Customs.

Mr. Chen's practice also extends to other China regulatory issues, including cross-border e-commerce, inspections and quarantine, cybersecurity law, encryption law, compulsory product certification, product safety standards, labeling, and food, drug and medical device registration issues.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Chen was a practicing attorney at a leading customs and trade compliance law firm in Shanghai. In this capacity, he advised multinational clients on a wide range of China customs issues, including customs valuation, classification, country of origin, processing trade, transfer pricing, royalty and license fees, export control, export tax refund, inspection and quarantine, free trade agreement (FTA) benefits, authorized economic operators (AEO) matters, customs special supervision zones, customs compliance audit, voluntary self-disclosure, customs investigation, white-collar crime and criminal defense.  Mr. Chen also has experience in World Trade Organization (WTO) law. One of his most notable achievements was successfully representing the domestic industry in China’s first anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation case, which concerned imports of grain oriented flat-rolled electrical steel imported from the United States and Russia.

Representative Experience

  • Advised a leading American hardware and technology integration service provider and a leading hospitality software and solution provider on their PRC Cybersecurity Law and data privacy issues
  • Advised a leading corporate reward program service provider on various regulatory issues relevant to China’s newly-enacted Cybersecurity Law, travel agency business, tax and foreign exchange control
  • Advising a world-leading e-commerce company and multiple American manufacturing companies on their PRC cross-border e-commerce strategies
  • Advised a leading wearable device manufacturer on various regulatory compliance issues relevant to their mobile payment and pre-paid card business
  • Advised a leading automobile navigation system manufacturer on various PRC mapping-related regulatory issues
  • Advised multiple American technology companies on their PRC encryption law and CCC certification issues
  • Conducted comprehensive customs regulatory audits and advised on the internal customs control schemes for multiple Fortune 500 companies in the chemical, automobile, electronics and engineering industries
  • Conducted legal audits for a leading global aircraft parts manufacturer and an Italian luxury decorative material manufacturer with respect to each of their bonded material disposition and advised on voluntary self-disclosure of the identified non-compliances to customs; represented the clients in the ensuing customs investigation proceedings and successfully resolved the problem without incurrence of criminal liability on the company or the management
  • Advised a Fortune 500 company in a customs price challenge proceeding on its intercompany transfer pricing policy and practice
  • Represented a world-leading automobile safety system producer and an American chemical company in the customs investigation proceedings regarding their royalty payments made to overseas related companies; represented the clients in the subsequent customs audit procedure and successfully resolved the problem without incurrence of duty liability or penalty
  • Advised several Fortune 500 companies on the dutiability of their royalty payments, preparation of the internal compliance audit and revision of the license agreements
  • Advised a world-leading aerospace company in designing a business model suitable for its aircraft repair and maintenance business in China
  • Advised an American aircraft engine manufacturer in designing a business model for its engine overhaul by exchange program in China
  • Assisted an American company in designing a business model for import of duty-free machinery which will be contributed as the registered capital to the FIE established by its clients across China
  • Advised an American company in designing a business model for the importation of its equipment on a duty-free basis and delivery to its customers across China
  • Advised a world-leading heavy equipment manufacturer and an electronic component manufacturer on an import & export clearance model for used equipment and recycled products
  • Advised a Fortune 500 company on the possible solutions to the importation of controlled chemicals into the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) of China, which encountered legal obstacles under then-existing Chinese customs laws; advised the client in communicating the proposed solutions with Customs and other relevant government agencies, applying for an ad hoc approval and urging modification of relevant laws and regulations regarding the importation of controlled chemicals into the EPZ
  • Advised a world-leading oil field services company in a customs investigation proceeding on the customer-owned duty-free equipment stored in its warehouse
  • Advised a Taiwan company on a rule of origin matter and the eligibility of its products for preferential duty treatment under the FTA between mainland China and Taiwan
  • Advised a world-leading healthcare product producer in a customs audit on its year-end retroactive transfer pricing adjustment practice
  • Advised a leading lifting and material processing product manufacturer on China export control issues
  • Advised a pharmaceutical company on the importation of certain medical products into China
  • Advised a leading American medical device company on various medical device registration issues
  • Advised two leading dairy product manufacturers on foreign manufacturer registration, product registration, labeling and China’s national food safety standard (GB standard) issues
  • Successfully represented the domestic industry in China’s first anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation case, which concerned imports of grain oriented flat-rolled electrical steel imported from the United States and Russia
  • Acted as defense counsel for a Fortune 500 chemical company in a criminal smuggling case relevant to unauthorized exchange and domestic sales of bonded raw materials. The case was the primary smuggling case in the Shanghai Customs district that year and was investigated directly under the supervision of Chinese General Administration of Customs. The case ended with no criminal or administrative liability
  • Acted as defense counsel for a Fortune 500 chemical company in criminal proceedings relevant to the under-declaration of import price. The case ended with only nominal administrate penalties without affecting client’s customs credit grading
  • Advised a multinational on a customs investigation case relevant to the suspected under-declaration of import prices; represented the client as defense counsel in the subsequent smuggling prosecution proceedings and succeeded in the innocence pleading and defense
  • Represented a multinational in an administrative review procedure regarding a MOFCOM ruling declaring the export product of the client to be a dual-use item subject export control. The case eventually ended with the voluntary revocation of the ruling after panel review


Speaking Engagements

  • “One Belt, One Road and China Customs Law”, Panelist, Shanghai Customs College, Shanghai, China, 2015
  • “How to Tackle Customs Investigation & Transfer Pricing Challenge Cases,” Speaker, Taihu China Customs Forum, Suzhou, China, 2014