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International arbitrations to expand in Guangzhou

01/23/2020 Source: Chinadaily.com.cn

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The China Guangzhou Arbitration Commission will expand cooperation with foreign counterparts to improve its commercial arbitration standards to better serve the country's Belt and Road Initiative.

Many companies prefer arbitration-a way of settling disputes that ends with a binding decision-over a more time-consuming and costly lawsuit process in court.

Chen Simin, Party chief and director of the arbitration commission, said international commercial arbitration has great potential as the country opens wider to the world and speeds up construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

"The commission should spare no effort to improve its arbitration standards and work efficiency to provide better dispute settlement for domestic companies that go abroad for investment or business, and for the foreign companies that arrive on the mainland for business," Chen said at a news conference in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Tuesday.

He predicted that demand for commercial arbitration would grow because China is encouraging more domestic companies to go abroad and is trying to attract foreign investors and companies.

To meet the projected demand, Chen said, the arbitration commission wants to recruit a large number of talented people from around the world who have international vision to improve the level of arbitration and offer legal services.

"The talented people the commission is seeking include judges, arbitrators, lawyers and related legal personnel," he said.

Shen Yunqiao, an associate law professor at Macau University of Science and Technology, said international commercial arbitration has the advantage of high efficiency, internationalization and less cost.

"Arbitration, which can achieve a final result in its first instance, has simple procedures compared with processes that involve going to court-for example, three court appearances before a final verdict is handed down," Shen said.

The 161 countries and regions that have signed the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards recognize the positive results of arbitration for dispute settlements, he said.

China officially joined the convention in 1987.

By contrast, a court verdict in one country or another might not be recognized or implemented by others, Shen said.

According to Zhang Xiaojian, director of the secretariat of the Guangzhou arbitration commission, the group has set up agencies in Southeast Asia, Europe and South America.

In December 2018, the commission signed a contract with the Guangdong Chamber of Commerce in Cyprus to set up an arbitration and mediation center there to provide services to companies in Europe and the Middle East.

In May, it signed a contract with a law firm in Thailand to establish an arbitration and mediation center for China and Thailand.

Last month, the commission signed a cooperation framework agreement with the China-Brazil Investment Development and Trade Center to provide legal services to Chinese companies in the Brazil market, and in October it expanded cooperation with Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria and Cameroon to jointly promote commercial arbitration in Africa.

The commission-among China's first arbitration agencies-was established in August 1995. Last year, it handled 13,955 arbitrations, including 261 cases involving foreign companies, an increase of 66 percent year-on-year.

On Jan 15, it arbitrated a dispute between a Chinese company and one from Indonesia in a formal meeting via the internet. The arbitrator's decision was delivered two days later and took effect two days after that.

Both companies expressed satisfaction with the result of the arbitration and with the commission's high efficiency.