Conflict of Laws and Compliance
Haitao Zhang, Director, Legal, CNPC America Ltd
Normally conflict of Laws (also called private international law) is defined as the set of rules or laws a jurisdiction applies to a case, transaction, or other occurrences that have connections to more than one jurisdiction and conflict of laws deals with the situation how individual countries (judicially and/or legislatively) regulate internally the affairs of individuals with connections to more than one jurisdiction. Different from the above, in this paper, the conflict of laws addresses the circumstance of how an individual company complies with the applicable but conflicting laws from different jurisdictions. This is a dire situation for the company: it is impossible to comply with both/multiple laws simultaneously; and if it chooses one law to comply with, it will violate the other law(s). This situation becomes increasingly a new normal for many multinational companies when more and more countries assert their jurisdictions beyond their borders, such as US sanctions, which have created a dilemma for the company if it is operating in a country sanctioned by the US. Then, what should the company do? This paper will first list out the different cases which are rooted in the conflict of laws and then categorize these cases into different groups and will explore the options available for the company, and analyze underlying reasons that the company chooses an option over the other option(s) and finally will offer some considerations to the companies operating in such a challenging situation.
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