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2021 China High-Level Dialogue on Maritime and Commercial Arbitration Successfully Held in Beijing, China

Source:China Maritime Arbitration Commission Time:2021-07-16 11:29:46

The 2021 China High-Level Dialogue on Maritime and Commercial Arbitration ( CHDOMACA) was convened successfully in Beijing, on 16 July 2021. The symposium was organized by China Maritime Arbitration Commission (CMAC), in collaboration with the Vancouver Maritime Arbitrators Association (VMAA), Cairo Regional Center For International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA), Arbitration Center of the Chamber of Commerce of Lima (LCC), and Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA), and supported by 19 ADR institutions including Bangladesh International Arbitration Center (BIAC), Tashkent International Arbitration Center (TIAC), Arbitration Center of Mexico (CAM), The Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa (AFSA), and International Commercial Mediation Center for The Belt and Road Initiative. 

Mme. GAO Yan, Chairperson of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade  (CCPIT) and China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC), Dr. TAO Kaiyuan, Vice President of the PRC Supreme People's Court (SPC) and grand justice of the second rank, and IPBA President Mr. Jack LI attended the opening ceremony and delivered welcome speeches. Mr. JIANG Jing, Advisor (Director General level) of the Public Legal Service Administration of the PRC Ministry of Justice, and Ms. WANG Shumei, Chief Judge of the Civil Adjudication Tribunal No.4 of SPC, delivered keynote speeches. Dr. LU Pengqi, Vice Chairman of CCPIT and Vice Chairman of CMAC, presided over the opening ceremony.

In her welcome speech, Mme. GAO Yan said that at present, China has been actively participating in global maritime economic governance with unprecedented openness and injecting strong impetus into the development of global shipping industry. Maritime arbitration, as an indispensable part of creating an international business-friendly environment under the rule of law, has received increasing emphasis in a move to build up an international shipping hub. Since its establishment in 1959, CMAC has administrated thousands of maritime and commercial cases over the past 60 some years, and CMAC awards which are considered to be impartial have won CMAC great reputation at home and abroad. For instance, in 2020, CMAC remained a stable footing at the top of maritime arbitration among various arbitration institutions across the globe, with 35% foreign-related cases of total and parties from 22 countries and regions. Increased internationalization of arbitration has led to the popularization of the arbitration-centered ADR services in China, fully demonstrating the credibility and influence of China's maritime arbitration across the world. Looking to the future, she believes that China's maritime and commercial arbitration must always meet the needs of the new era, base themselves upon new development trend of International economy shipping, adhere to the demand-oriented and problem-driven approaches, promote institutional reform and innovation, deepen the supply-side structural reform, and strengthen international cooperation and exchanges, actively work on China's opening-up, the Belt and Road Initiative and international trade and economic development. She further proposed three suggestions. First, study on maritime arbitration issues should continue to be strengthened and the development of the rules and norms of the international maritime law should be actively promoted; Second, cooperation should be deepened to fully explore the comparative advantages of industrial linkage; Third, the training of foreign-related legal talents should be emphasized at the service of international trade and economic development.

Dr. TAO Kaiyuan stated that maritime and commercial arbitration, as an internationally accepted method of dispute resolution,becomes an important part of building a diversified dispute resolution mechanism in China’s social governance system. It is of great importance to resolve maritime and commercial disputes in an efficient and convenient manner, to promote the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, to build a marketized, legalized and internationalized business environment, and to promote the implementation of major national strategies. She proposed three suggestions on strengthening the construction of maritime and commercial arbitration mechanism. First, enhance the ability to serve China’s development and opening-up measures with a vision of overall situation; Second, enhance the ability to serve the market-oriented economy and market entities by maintaining high standards of professionalism; Third, coordinate and advance rule of law in domestic and foreign-related domains adhere to international standards. She stated that the SPC will continue to greatly support the institutional innovation and development of maritime and commercial arbitration institutions, to strengthen communication and cooperation with the arbitration institutions, to firmly implement the quality maritime adjudication strategy, to further improve the arbitration-related judicial review mechanism, to innovate the mechanism of docking litigation, arbitration and mediation for international commercial dispute resolution, with the aim of expanding China's connections in the legal field and making new contributions to the standardization, professionalism and internationalization of China's maritime and commercial dispute resolution mechanism. 

Mr. Jack LI said that with over 60 years of arbitration practice, CMAC has independently and impartially administrated thousands of professionally demanding arbitral cases among which the foreign-related cases account for a large proportion. CMAC awards which are considered to be independent, impartial, professional and authoritative, as well as its efficient and high-quality services have won CMAC great reputation at home and abroad. Moreover, CMAC has also made outstanding contributions to the building of China's arbitration system under the rule of law and the development of international arbitration. He stated that in the context of building a world-class arbitration institution, expanding opening-up of arbitration services, strengthening exchanges and cooperation in international arbitration, and creating an arbitration-friendly environment, the Inter-Pacific Bar Association will work together with CMACand jointly contribute to developing international arbitration.

In his keynote speech, Mr. JIANG Jing said that arbitration offers many advantages such as fairness, efficiency, international enforceability, professionalism and confidentiality. It has played an important role in resolving disputes in a fair, timely and proper manner, promoting reform and opening up, and promoting international trade and economic cooperation. Maritime and commercial arbitration have been widely adopted in China nowadays and have become preferred methods of dispute resolution for parties, leading to many practical, theoretical and institutional innovations with Chinese characteristics and Chinese elements. Arbitration, mediation, administrative adjudication, administrative reconsideration, and litigation under the diversified dispute resolution mechanisms have been constantly improved, linked and coordinated with each other. He proposed that steps should be taken to improve Chinese legal system and working mechanism , learn from  internationally accepted arbitration mechanism, facilitate a new paradigm of arbitration mechanism featuring CPC’s leadership, government initiatives, institutional independence, industry self-regulation, judicial and social supervision and enhance credibility of arbitration in order to establish China as the most popular or most preferred seat of international arbitration.

Ms. WANG Shumei said that with steady progress of the Belt and Road Initiative and the construction of free trade pilot zones, the implementation of wider, broader and deeper opening up to the outside world and creation of a market-oriented, legalized and international business-friendly environment, not only requests a higher demand on professionalism, standardization and internationalization of the dispute resolution mechanism, but also provides broad prospects and favorable conditions for the innovation and development of the maritime and commercial dispute resolution mechanisms. She proposed that the quality foreign-related commercial and maritime adjudication strategies should be implemented, the arbitration judicial review mechanism should be improved, and maritime and commercial dispute resolution mechanisms upon judicial interpretations and typical cases should be established. Moreover, the maritime and commercial arbitration mechanisms and its credibility should be improved through standardization, diversification and digitalization. The Adjudication Tribunal No.4 of SPC will continue to advance the maritime and commercial dispute resolution mechanisms, to address equal attentions on supporting and supervising arbitration, to create an arbitration-friendly judicial review environment, to continuously improve the credibility and internationalization of China's arbitration and provide more Chinese proposals for the future development of international maritime and commercial dispute resolution mechanism.

 Session Hot Issues of Maritime Arbitration was moderated by Mr. SONG Dihuang, partner of Beijing Huizhong Law Firm, with experts engaged in discussions on a range of topics such as the choice of dispute resolution seat in the post epidemic era and new developments, ad hoc arbitration vs institutional arbitration, the jurisdiction clause over the bill of lading. Prominent speakers included Mr. CHEN Yanzhong, Chief Judge of Trial Supervision Division of Xiamen Maritime Court, Ms. Grace ZHENG, Senior Partner of Shanghai Co-effort Law Firm, Mr. Nicholas LUM, Partner of Clyde& Co (Shanghai) and Director of Classis LLC (Singapore), Mr. John Joseph McINTYRE, Vice President of VMAA and Barristers of MW Law Offices, Mr. Nick POYNDER, Partner of Holman Fenwick Willan LLP, Mr. Peter SWANSON, Director of VMAA and Barristers and Solicitors of Bernard LLP.

Session II Hot Issues of Commercial Arbitration was moderated by CMAC Vice Chairman Dr. LI Hu. Ms. ZHANG Yuejiao, former Chair of the WTO Appellate Body, Mr. WANG Xuehua, Chief Partner of Beijing Huanzhong & Partners, Mr. XI Xiangyang, Judge of the Civil Adjudication Tribunal No.4 of SPC, Dr. Sughra BIBI, post doctorate of Guanghua Law School of Zhejiang University, CRICAC Director Mr. Ismail SELIM, LCC Secretary General Ms. Marianella Ventura SILVA and Mr. Anton A. WARE, Partner of Arnold & Porter as esteemed speakers engaged in discussion topics covering a wide variety of issues ranging from the innovative practices and mechanism of arbitration, the foreign institution’s administration of arbitration in the Mainland and the constructive partnership between Chinese and foreign arbitration institutions to the characteristics of Chinese institutional arbitration.

Dr. CHEN Bo, Deputy Secretary-General of CMAC and Secretary-General of China Maritime Law Association (CMLA), delivered the closing speech. She said that in the post-pandemic era, we have seen many new trends in the arbitration domain that worth thinking and exploring., Based upon the common understanding reached in  the 2021 CHDOMACA , we should further perfect the mechanism of maritime and commercial arbitration as well as related supporting measures under new situation. It is delighted that 23 domestic and foreign cooperators and supporters of this event have expressed the hope to deepen cooperation with the CMAC, through the  CHDOMACA, a permanent high-end forum of international arbitration, jointly accelerate the conceptual, systemic and institutional innovation in maritime and commercial arbitration domain, promote the healthy development of international commercial dispute resolution, and safeguard the construction of a stable, fair and transparent international economic order and the in-depth development of international trade and investment.

The 2021 CHDOMACA, by tapping into the trends and innovations of China's arbitration practice, is of great significance in the exploration of international cooperative and competitive advantage on China’s arbitration, the development of a new pattern, the promotion of international trade and investment, and maintenance of the stability of the global economic order. The event attracted more than 100 attendees on-site and nearly 10,000 online audiences.


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