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This special interview was conducted by Ms Crystal Wong Wai Chin at the end of the Belt and Road Arbitration Institutions Roundtable Forum, during the China Arbitration Week in Beijing, China, on 7 November 2019 with Mr Wang Chengjie, in the presence of Ms Lu Fei1. Mr Wang Chengjie is the Vice Chairman & Secretary General of CIETAC and Ms Lu Fei, Deputy Director of Commission Affairs Division, CIETAC. Many thanks to Mr Wang and Ms Lu Fei for taking the time to share their thoughts with Kluwer Arbitration Blog and our readers.
01| For those unfamiliar with CIETAC, can you briefly introduce CIETAC’s history, reform and current development?
CIETAC, established in April 1956 under the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, is the oldest and largest arbitration institution in China. CIETAC’s headquarter is based in Beijing and has a number of sub-commissions throughout China, including in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin and Hong Kong. Last year, CIETAC set up a North America Arbitration Center in Vancouver and a Europe Arbitration Center in Vienna.
Since its establishment CIETAC had administered more than 40,000 cases, involving parties from 100 countries. The arbitral awards rendered under CIETAC Arbitration Rules have also been widely recognised and enforced all around the world. The track record signifies the independence and impartiality of CIETAC and further enhanced the attractiveness of CIETAC as the trusted and well-recognized arbitral institution by both Chinese and foreign parties.
As reported recently in the “Annual Report on International Commercial Arbitration in China (2018-2019)”, released in conjunction with the China Arbitration Week on 5 November 2019, as of September 2019, CIETAC has registered 2,387 cases, including 459 foreign-related cases, which represents an increase of 100 cases calculated on a year-on-year basis. The total amount in dispute has also for the first time exceeded RMB 100billion.
02 | This is the 7th China Arbitration Week organised by CIETAC. Can you share with us the highlights of this year’s China Arbitration Week (and why)?
China Arbitration Week is the national campaign platform on arbitration and dispute resolution, which is jointly initiated and established by CIETAC, the Renmin University, All China Lawyers Association (ACLA) and the Beijing Lawyers Association in 2013. The China Arbitration Week2, held annually with a series of activities in more than 10 cities across the country, gathers more than 8000 delegates sharing their views and experience in more than 40 alternative dispute resolution related events.
For the China Arbitration Week 2019, CIETAC has received tremendous support from leading arbitral institutions, including the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the American Arbitration Association (AAA), the German Arbitration Institute (DIS), the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), and the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC), the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA), and the Vienna International Arbitration Centre (VIAC).
CIETAC has organised 49 arbitration events in 17 provinces and municipalities of China, including the China Arbitration Summit on 5 and 6 November 2019 and the Belt and Road Arbitration Institutions Roundtable Forum on 6 and 7 November 20193. The main theme of the 2019 China Arbitration Week revolves around the effective dispute resolution mechanism for Belt and Road disputes. The signing of the “Beijing Joint Declaration of the ‘Belt and Road’ Arbitration Institution” signifies the arbitral institutions joint effort and determination to strengthen the close and cooperative relationship, to promote dialogue and develop the Belt and Road Arbitration Mechanism. During the forum, CIETAC also signed cooperation agreements with seven international arbitration institutions to further strengthen the cooperation between the arbitral institutions and made active efforts to promote the development of effective dispute resolutions for Belt and Road disputes.
In addition, as announced in September 2018 as part of the National People’s Congress’ legislative agenda, the Arbitration Law of the People’s Republic of China enacted in 1994 will be reviewed and amendments will be made within the next five years. CIETAC has been invited to share its comments on, and will play an active role in, the revision of the enabling legislation.
03 | Earlier before the closing ceremony, you have announced the successful signing of the Beijing Joint Declaration of the “Belt and Road” Arbitration Institutions. Could you tell us more about the framework and roadmap following the signing of the Beijing Joint Declaration?
CIETAC is very grateful that the initiative has gained the attention and support of many leading institutions. The content of the Beijing Joint Declaration proposed by CIETAC was discussed during a closed-door meeting on 6 November 2019 with the participation of many leading arbitral institutions, including CIETAC, International Chamber of Commerce Arbitration (ICC), German Arbitration Institute (DIS), Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), Stockholm Chamber of Commerce Arbitration (SCC), and Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA), Vienna International Arbitration Center (VIAC), Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB) and Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC). With the high degree of consensus reached, the Beijing Joint Declaration was announced earlier during the Belt and Road Institutions Roundtable Forum.
CIETAC and other participating institutions believe that arbitral institutions should work together to foster a close and cooperative relationship by promoting dialogues among the arbitral institutions and arbitral community along the Belt and Road countries, for the modernization and harmonisation of arbitration practices and standards.
Under the framework of the Beijing Joint Declaration, we use the concept of arbitration and the exchange of arbitration experience as a link to jointly explore the respective advantages and coordination of arbitration, mediation, litigation and other dispute resolution methods, and promote the application of diversified dispute resolution on a global scale.
CIETAC and other participating institutions welcome more international dispute resolution institutions to participate in the endorsement of the Beijing Joint Declaration, to form a broader and powerful multilateral cooperation, from localization development to more open regionalization and even globalization.
I am truly delighted with this milestone achievement, which would not have been possible without the support of the participating arbitral institutions. CIETAC is extremely grateful and appreciative of the hard work of the research team and the trust the participating arbitral institutions have placed in us. CIETAC look forward to working together with the participating institutions to ensure the efficient, expeditious and sensible resolution of “Belt and Road” disputes.
04 | What is your hope for CIETAC in next ten years?
This is a tough yet interesting question. We have seen a remarkable growth of international arbitration in China as evidenced by the significant increase in CIETAC caseload. Today, parties from “Belt and Road” countries elect China as the seat of their arbitration and CIETAC as the preferred arbitral institution. I place great hope that the new reforms in the somewhat dated Arbitration Law of the People’s Republic of China will modernize the China’s arbitration regime and further align the local arbitration practices and standards with the international practices. CIETAC will also be developing a blueprint on the dispute resolution regime for the Belt and Road projects, with the other participating institutions of the Beijing Joint Declaration. I have no doubt that CIETAC will pursue continual improvement in the next decade and would play a significant role in the success of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
To this end, I welcome the support and views of our users, academics and practitioners, to discuss and debate with CIETAC on the issues, with a view to enhance and harmonize the existing practices, standards and mechanisms.
1 The interview was conducted in Mandarin language and the questions and answers have been translated by the authors from Chinese to English. The authors would like to thank Mr Yao Junyi, Director of Supervision & Coordination Division, CIETAC, for verifying the information and statistic in this article.
3 The authors attended both of these events, details of which were published on CIETAC’s official website at the following links: http://www.cietac.org.cn/index.php?m=Article&a=show&id=16220&l=en, http://www.cietac.org.cn/index.php?m=Article&a=show&id=16221&l=en.
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