The new managing partner of Atlanta-based Troutman Sanders LLC law firm’s office in Hong Kong, Roger D. Williams, sees increasing opportunities for U.S. businesses in China.

          Despite the global economic downturn, intensified by the events of Sept. 11, Mr. Williams said his Hong Kong office is “particularly upbeat” because several new Asian infrastructure transactions to be handled by its attorneys are a sign of economic recovery.

          “The Chinese economy has been the one stable force in Asia during the prolonged economic downturn,” Mr. Williams wrote to GlobalFax from Hong Kong in an e-mail.

“China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), combined with its liberalization of laws governing various trade and infrastructure projects, has opened the door for substantial new foreign investment,” he said.

          He cautioned, however, that China’s WTO membership does not mean an overnight opening of the Chinese economy to foreign companies. WTO regulations call for phased opening of markets, such as a one- to five-year transition period for the Chinese telecommunications industry.

Hong Kong remains the “economic gateway to China,” Mr. Williams asserted, saying he believes it will continue to be the prime place to do business in the country.

The approaching change in Hong Kong leadership – Chief Executive Tung Che Wha’s term as head of state ends this June – will have little effect on business, unless a new executive takes a pro-tax increase stance that would deter new business development, Mr. Williams added.

          Mr. Williams’ law practice focuses on energy related, project finance transactions involving natural gas, oil and coal-fired power plants, petrochemical plants and pulp and paper plants. He has also worked on energy litigation involving oil and gas pipelines and refining issues.

He has been in Troutman Sanders’ Washington office in the firm’s project development/finance and international practice groups. He lived in Singapore, 1995-1998, working on projects in Southeast Asia.

Troutman Sanders Hong Kong office was established in 1997. Its attorneys facilitate joint ventures and investments in China and East and Southeast Asia and represent the interests of Asia-based clients with investments in the United States.

Contact Troutman Sanders’ Atlanta office at (404) 885-3000 for more information or Mr. Williams at