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n Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg - Creating a favourable legal environment for the sustainable development of China - Africa business relations

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Abstract

China is the largest developing country in the world, and Africa is the continent which encompasses the largest number of developing countries. The last decade, especially since the establishment of the Forum on China - Africa Cooperation in 2000, has witnessed the enormous and rapid development of China - Africa business relations. For example, in 2000 China - Africa trade reached the US$10 billion mark, in 2008 it exceeded US$100 billion, and in 2012 the trade volume between both sides reached nearly US$200 billion (US$198,49 billion), with an increase of 19% compared with the same period of last year. At the same time, Chinese investment in Africa is also going smoothly. From 2009 to 2012, China's direct investment in Africa increased from US$1,44 billion to US$2,52 billion, with an annual growth rate of 20,5%, and China's accumulative direct investment in Africa increased from US$9,33 billion to US$21,23 billion, 2,3 times the 2009 figure, over the same period. China has become Africa's largest trade partner, and Africa is now China's major import source, second-largest overseas construction project contract market and fourth-largest investment destination.


The frequent civil and commercial transactions between both sides has resulted in many legal issues in recent years, such as those arising from contract, cross-border marriage, foreign investment, illegal immigration and cross-border crimes, etc. The settlement of those legal issues will definitely have a great impact on China - Africa trade and investment. Many legal scholars have recognized the role that law plays in China - African business relations, and have appealed to the governments from both sides to take seriously the legal issues arising from such relations to create a favourable legal environment for the sustainable development of such relations. Fortunately, top officials from both sides have realized the negative effect of the legal issues arising from the business relations, and have attached much attention to their settlement. For example, the documents adopted at the past five Forums on China - Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) indicated that the legal exchange of legal professionals from both sides should be increased, judicial cooperation should be extended and investment and trade disputes should be settled amicably.
For the long run, the author proposes in this article that as a first step the governments from both sides should negotiate and conclude more relevant bilateral treaties to build a comprehensive legal framework for settling those legal issues; secondly, the law enforcement authorities from both sides should strengthen their cooperation and work together to solve those legal issues; finally, the exchange of the legal professions from both sides should be improved and greater awareness of the need to abide by the law should be enhanced among the economic actors from both sides as a result of more legal exchange and more knowledge of the legal systems from both sides in future.


Met die bloeiende handelsbetrekkinge tussen China en lande in Afrika kom verskillende regsprobleme na vore sowel binne die handels- as die privaatregtelike sfeer. Probleme word ook ervaar met die hantering van onwettige immigrante en met grensoorskrydende kriminele aktiwiteite. Van die aspekte raak die besigheidsverhouding in geheel negatief. Van sowel die Chinese as Afrika kant word na oplossings gestreef om regsdispute te voorkom of dan minstens snel en bevredigend op te los. Dit blyk uit die dokumentasie wat by die afgelope vyf ministeriële konferensies van die Forum vir China - Afrika Samewerking gepubliseer is. Tans bestaan geen omvattende regsraamwerk waarbinne sodanige potensiële konflik en dispute bereg kan word nie. Die bestaande raamwerke bevredig nie in die geïdentifiseerde behoefte nie. Die bestaande regssamewerking tussen die betrokke state is te beperk wat regsafdwinging problematies maak.
Die outeur stel voor dat China en die tersake Afrikastate saamwerk ten einde bilaterale verdrae te sluit oor regsbystand en samewerking op alle potensieel botsende privaatregtelike en handelsregtelike terreine maar ook wat die strafregtelike aspekte betref. Die samewerking behoort die klem te laat val op die wedersydse beskerming van beleggings en beleggers se belange en ook voorsiening te maak vir die vermyding van dubbele belasting. Uiteraard sal dit moet lei tot 'n verbetering en hersiening van alle bestaande verdrae tussen die state sodat die praktiese behoeftes ten beste aangespreek en gedien kan word. Samewerking tussen die onderskeie wetstoepassingsorganisasies moet daaruit voortvloei. Dit sluit ook in die hantering van aanspreeklikheid vir wanprestasie en vir produkte van swak kwaliteit.
Daar behoort ook voorsiening gemaak te word vir die uitruil en samewerking tussen die akademici van die onderskeie partye want sodoende kan deur 'n lewendige gedagtewisseling die doelstellings van die FOCAC bevorder word as regsforum. Dit behoort te lei tot gesamentlike gemeenskaplike navorsingswerksaamhede. Die vertrekpunt van enige bilaterale samewerking moet wees dat alle partye hul neerlê by al die beginsels wat 'n regstaat tipeer. Slegs sodoende voorsien die outeur 'n lewenskragtige en langdurige samewerking tussen die belanghebbende partye.

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/content/ju_tsar/2014/2/EJC152116
2014-01-01
2016-12-08
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