China Desk

Our China Desk serves as a contact point for both U.S. and Chinese companies and investors operating or planning to operate in U.S. - China business. Our attorneys in the China Desk understand your business, no matter what sector you represent. 

Frost Brown Todd’s China Desk combines a group of attorneys from different practice areas with a particular focus on the Chinese market. This combined skillset allows us to handle a wide range of legal issues that may arise during the start-up and day-to-day operations of international companies in the United States, China and other parts of the world.

Our Lawyers

The China Desk consists of attorneys across our footprint, who possess strong expertise in a variety of practice areas, including corporate and business, labor and employment, litigation, intellectual property, real estate, taxation, immigration and international trade. Joseph Dehner, who has chaired the Firm’s International Business Services Group for over 20 years, represents many clients on China-related matters. Joe counsels a wide variety of companies on issues confronting global business, including cross border investment, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, global personnel matters, tax, customs and trade issues, structures, distribution and agency agreements and the resolution of international disputes.

The China Desk is co-chaired by John Wagster and Haifeng Hong. John Wagster has unique experience helping U.S. companies forge cross-cultural contractual agreements around the world using industry best practices and western style contracts. John also focuses on technology-related commercial agreements with a particular interest in the automotive space, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. John has extensive experience with international transactions. Haifeng Hong is a corporate attorney who concentrates his practice on advising China/Asian businesses in corporate and commercial matters, such as corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, sales and product distributorship, intellectual property, and cross-border investment and transactions, and he also assists the U.S. businesses with their projects in China and Asia, including subsidiaries overseas, business alliances, outsourcing, product distributorship, franchise, intellectual property, and regulatory compliance issues.

Industry Focused

The China Desk’s lawyers have extensive experience advising international clients in both business transactions and litigation matters in a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, information technology, financial services, real estate, engineering and construction, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, health care, general consumer products, petrochemical and natural resources. Our depth of experience in each of these industries allows us to better understand our clients’ needs across different legal issues.


Corporate Transactions/Mergers & Acquisitions/Direct Investments

We have a substantial national M&A practice, centered on mid-market transactions. As leading advisers to public and private firms on all types of transactions, our M&A lawyers counsel clients and assist with strategic planning and regulatory compliance for buyers, sellers, strategic investors and venture capitalists, management groups, independent committees of directors and investment banking firms. Our M&A team has national and cross-border experience to assist owners in buying and selling assets. Our business experience includes the full gamut of structuring, tax, antitrust, intellectual property, workforce, global trade, customs, ERISA and environmental law. Our International Service Group establishes foreign subsidiaries and tax-effective holding structures for U.S. businesses as they cross borders. We also have extensive experience in structuring product distribution and licensing agreements, inbound and outbound international business transactions and operations, joint ventures and direct investment.

International Trade

In today’s global business market, multinational companies must have contracts with international suppliers, customers and sales agents, and take appropriate steps to ensure that these contracts are compliant with a complex web of government regulations. Our international trade lawyers work with these clients to develop internal policies and procedures that will aid company directors, officers, owners and employees in their efforts to comply with international trade regulations. We are also well equipped to advise on an extensive range of international trade issues, including international trade compliance and audits, trade remedies, exporting issues, the preparation of trade compliance procedures, and voluntary self-disclosures to help our clients operate their businesses smoothly in the international sphere.


Our environmental lawyers have outstanding depth and breadth, which enable them to provide a broad range of services to a broad range of international clients. These lawyers serve as litigation counsel, defend civil and criminal enforcement actions, counsel clients on regulatory matters, conduct audits and internal investigations and provide environmental representation on real estate and corporate transactions. Our clients range from manufacturers to commercial entities to municipalities, and we pride ourselves on our knowledge of our clients and their business operations. Because many of our environmental lawyers hail from the very industries they now represent and have varied engineering, science and technical backgrounds, we provide clients with an advantage in solving even the most complicated environmental issues.

Dispute Resolution

Our litigation and arbitration specialists provide comprehensive advice and representation in national and international courts, global arbitration proceedings and U.S. arbitration proceedings. Our lawyers often assist clients in understanding dispute resolution options before a transaction occurs and draft dispute resolution clauses in advance of disputes so that clients have a level playing field should a dispute arise. Once a dispute does arise, we assist clients in conducting or defending cross-border litigation and enforcement of judgments. We also are adept at gathering evidence needed from foreign jurisdictions for use in U.S. courts and arbitral tribunals. While the experience of our international litigation lawyers covers many types of disputes, our lawyers assist clients with disputes involving antitrust, restrictive covenants, trade disputes, intellectual property, products liability, anti-bribery laws and the U.N. Convention for Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. 

International and State Tax

There are few areas in the law that can affect the bottom line like taxes. We have a team of tax lawyers with the experience and relationships necessary to create innovative solutions that match our clients’ specific business problems. We advise clients in transactional and operational issues, and represent clients in dispute resolutions with taxing authorities in administrative as well as judicial forums. Our tax lawyers have a firm commitment to staying abreast of the frequently changing laws, regulations, rulings and judicial decisions that govern our local, national and international tax systems.

Immigration/Labor & Employment

We secure visas and work permits for managers and employees, inside and outside of the U.S. We also advise on expatriate tax and estate planning issues, consult on international tax secondment and assignment agreements, and all other matters relevant to achieving tax efficiency across borders. Our experienced lawyers provide guidance on complex labor and employment issues to minimize exposure arising from personnel issues.

Intellectual Property

The protection and licensing of patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets are critical for a company’s success in the international marketplace. Our IP lawyers build cost-effective strategies and execute those strategies on a worldwide basis. We also help businesses license technology and conduct global technology transfers. If infringement occurs, our IP litigators are experienced in enforcing intellectual property rights in both alternative dispute resolution and courtroom settings.


For more information on the China Desk, please contact John Wagster and Haifeng Hong, co-chairs of the Desk.

Legal Spotlight

FBT offers Doing Business Guides for foreign companies seeking information about locating operations in the central USA. For more information, please reference the following guide:

Guide for Doing Business in the U.S. (English)