Published: 14:33, April 23, 2021 | Updated: 14:35, April 23, 2021
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Judiciary to improve commercial arbitration
By Cao Chen in Shanghai

This Dec 28, 2020 photo captures a general view of Yantian District People's Court, where 12 fugitives, from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, arrested in August as they tried to flee to Taiwan were convicted on Dec 30, 2020, in Shenzhen. (NOEL COLIS / AFP)

China will improve its judiciary's capacity to handle international commercial arbitration cases by introducing more international talent, policy reforms and international cooperation, Vice-Minister of Justice Xiong Xuanguo said on Monday.

Arbitration acts as an important international dispute resolution system and is vital to strengthening China's arbitration ability in order to optimize its business environment, Xiong said in his keynote speech at the 30th Inter-Pacific Bar Association Annual Meeting and Conference that began in Shanghai on Monday.

Organized by the Inter-Pacific Bar Association, the conference gathered experts in law from some 30 countries who participated in person or online. They discussed topics including investment in Latin America, cross-border mergers and acquisitions, and intellectual property. It ended on Wednesday.

"To adapt to changes in the global economy and trade today for a better market-oriented, legalized, international business environment, we will benchmark against international standards to build commercial arbitration centers with a global reputation," Xiong said.

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We welcome international arbitrators to work in Chinese arbitration institutions as well, and will conduct talent exchanges with foreign arbitration institutions.

Xiong Xuanguo, vice-minister of Justice

He said there are 260 arbitration commissions in China, with 60,000 staff members. They have handled more than 4 million arbitration cases involving 70 countries and regions.

"We'll improve efficient arbitration rules and procedures applicable to international commercial disputes for the needs of the world," Xiong said.

He said that to further open up arbitration services, China will train and introduce arbitrators and arbitration secretaries with a strong command of domestic and overseas legal knowledge, international economics and trade knowledge, and language skills.

The country has allowed foreign arbitration and dispute resolution institutions to establish branches in specific zones, such as the pilot free trade zones in Shanghai and Beijing, and to carry out business in civil and commercial disputes.

"We welcome international arbitrators to work in Chinese arbitration institutions as well, and will conduct talent exchanges with foreign arbitration institutions," Xiong said.

Jiang Min, vice-president of the All-China Lawyers Association, said it has sent four batches of 220 lawyers specialized in foreign-related cases overseas for training. In 2019, the Belt and Road International Lawyers Association was established in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, to facilitate cooperation among 1,700 associations, firms and freelance lawyers from 54 countries and regions on five continents.

"China is also improving its arbitration law and supporting policies and expects to cooperate with more countries," Xiong added.

Former United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said in his video speech at the conference that China has a strong commitment and has made important contributions to dealing with critical common challenges the world is facing, including UN peacekeeping operations, climate change and poverty reduction, and has experienced significant changes over the past 40 years.

"The development made by China is based on the rule of law and policymaking," Ban said.

A report released by the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission in September said 253 arbitration commissions nationwide dealt with nearly 487,000 international commercial arbitration cases in 2019 that involved 759 billion yuan (US$116 billion), an increase of 64.8 billion yuan from 2018.

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