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Michigan Law graduates at the Sino-U.S. International Tax Forum. Front row (from left): Carlo Garbarino and Prof. Reuven Avi-Yonah. Second row (from left): Wei Xiong, Omri Marian, Tianlong Hu, Tamir Shanan, Nicola Sartori, and Fadi Shaheen.

MLaw well-represented at Beijing tax conference

By John Masson
Dec. 3, 2012

Last week's Sino-U.S. International Tax Forum in Beijing, the seventh such cooperative effort between Michigan Law, Peking University, and Renmin University of China, once again drew a distinguished crowd.

And this year, all the foreign invitees speaking at the conference, hosted by China Youth University for Political Science and Peking University, were Michigan Law graduates, according to Michigan Law's Prof. Reuven Avi-Yonah, who helped organize the events. Tax scholars from China's major universities also gave presentations.

"I have six Michigan Law tax alums who are teaching at various law schools" in attendance, Prof. Avi-Yonah said from Beijing. "They've been giving talks about tax policy in the second Obama administration—it's gone great so far."

Besides Prof. Avi-Yonah, presenting professors with Michigan ties included 1986 LLM grad Carlo Garbarino from Italy's Bocconi University; Nicola Sartori from the University of Milan; Fadi Shaheen from Rutgers; Omri Marian from the University of Florida; Tamir Shanan from the College of Management in Israel; and Tianlong Hu from the law school at China's Renmin University, who earned a Michigan LLM in 2001, a Michigan International Tax LLM in 2004, and a Michigan SJD in 2011.

More than 60 scholars, professors, administrators, judges, lawyers, and practitioners—all tax specialists—came to Beijing from the United States, China, Italy, and Israel. Participants represented more than 20 law schools, the Supreme People's Court of China, the State Administration of Taxation of China, China's Ministry of Finance, and leading tax law and accounting firms in the United States and China.

Over the years, more than 300 experts and educators from 80 universities and law schools in 20 countries have attended the forums. Participants have included judges and top administrators from the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service, as well as China's Ministry of Finance, State Administration of Taxation, Supreme People's Court, and Supreme People's Procuratorate.

For Prof. Avi-Yonah, the Irwin I. Cohn Professor of Law and director of Michigan Law's International Tax LLM program, the gathering has been an especially busy time, including meetings with the deans of the School of Law at Tsinghua University, the Central University of Finance, and Peking University Law School. He also delivered remarks on "The Prospects of the Obama Administration's Second Term Tax Policy" at five institutions: Tsinghua Law, Peking Law, the Central University of Finance and Economics, the China Youth University for Political Science, and Renmin University Law School.

Prof. Avi-Yonah also helped host the event, which was held in Ann Arbor in 2010 and 2008.

The two-day gathering included talks on European Union corporate tax policies, jurisdiction to tax corporations, some suggestions for China tax policy, and more. It also served to strengthen Michigan Law's strong existing ties to China's leading law schools.

"It's been a busy three days in Beijing," Prof. Avi-Yonah said. "And as always, it's been time well spent."

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