On 6 September 2023, 2023 China Arbitration Summit and the 3rd Belt and Road Arbitration Institutions Forum (“Summit”) was successfully held in Beijing. The Summit was co-hosted by China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (“CIETAC”) and United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (“UNCITRAL”). Yu Jianlong, Vice Chairman of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (“CCPIT”) and Vice Chairman of China Chamber of International Commerce (“CCOIC”), Anna Joubin-Bret, Secretary of UNCITRAL, Liu Guixiang, Permanent Member of the Supreme People’s Court (“SPC”)’s Judicial Committee (Vice-Minister Level) and Grand Justice of the Second Rank, attended the opening ceremony and delivered opening remarks. Wang Zhenjiang, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Justice (“MOJ”), delivered a speech via video. Zhang Shuming, Deputy Chief Judge of the Fourth Civil Division of the SPC, gave a keynote speech. Sun Chunying, First-Level Inspector of the Bureau of Public Legal Service Administration of the MOJ, Zhang Wen, Vice President of Beijing Higher People’s Court, as well as relevant leaders of Beijing Fourth Intermediate People’s Court, Beijing Financial Court and All China Lawyers Association (“ACLA”), attended the opening ceremony. Wang Chengjie, Vice Chairman and Secretary General of CIETAC, moderated the opening ceremony.
Rimsky Yuen, Co-Chair of Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (“HKIAC”) and former Secretary for Justice of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“SAR”), Wu Yongqian, Director of Arbitration Association of Chinese Taipei, Alexis Mourre, former President of the International Court of Arbitration of International Chamber of Commerce (“ICC”), Nikolaus Pitkowitz, President of the Vienna Inter-national Arbitration Centre (“VIAC”), Rouven F. Bodenheimer, Vice President of German Arbitration Institute (“DIS”), Gloria Lim, Chief Executive Ofﬁcer of Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”), Hamed Hassan Merah, Chief Executive Ofﬁcer of Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration (“SCCA”), Ismail Selim, Director of the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (“CRCICA”), James South, Director of the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (“CEDR”), Daniel Brantes Ferreira, Chief Executive Ofﬁcer of the Brazilian Center for Mediation and Arbitration (“CBMA”), Datuk Sundra Rajoo, Director of Asian International Arbitration Center (“AIAC”) and President of Asian Institute of Alternative Dispute Resolution (“AIADR”), Marcela Filloy Zerr, former Member of Board of Directors of the Arbitration and Mediation Center of Costa Rican Bar Association (“CAM”), J. Félix de Luis, Representative of Club Español e Iberoamericano del Arbitraje (“CEIA”), Tony Budidjaja, Chairman of Indonesian Academy of Independent Mediators and Arbitrators (“MedArbId”), Enkhtsetseg Sukhbaatar, Director of Mongolian Inter-national Arbitration Center (“MIAC”), Chuan Wee Meng, Chief Executive Ofﬁcer of Singapore International Mediation Centre (“SIMC”), Dennis Cai, Deputy Director of AALCO Hong Kong Regional Arbitration Centre, and other leading domestic and international arbitration institutions or representatives, as well as representatives of the Embassies and Consulates of Spain, Singapore, Mongolia, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to China, attended the Summit. Over 500 representatives from major arbitration institutions, judges, arbitrators, lawyers, scholars, industrial and commercial practitioners at home and abroad attended the Summit on-site, of which nearly 100 people came from 25 countries and regions. The live streaming of the Summit received more than 4.12 million watches from 145 countries and regions.
Yu Jianlong pointed out that arbitration is an internationally recognized measure of resolving trade and investment disputes. It plays an indispensable and signiﬁcant role in resolving international commercial disputes, safeguarding the stability of international trade and economy, stimulating the high-quality development of the “Belt and Road”, and participating in global governance. CIETAC has long been committed to promoting the development of international commercial arbitration, actively exploring and innovating, creating an international brand of China’s arbitration, building the international credibility of Chinese arbitration, and making unremitting efforts to build a international arbitration service highland with a global view. This year is the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative. International arbitration has encountered new opportunities and challenges. Under the new situation, international arbitration community should build consensus, enhance mutual trust, deepen exchanges, and jointly promote the stable and rapid development of the world economy.
Anna Joubin-Bret noted that CIETAC has actively participated in the relevant work of UNCITRAL and made important contributions for years. Over the past decades, technological advances had accelerated the ﬂow of goods and services across borders but had also brought new challenges to dispute resolution. She introduced the work done by UNCITRAL in the ﬁeld of dispute resolution in recent years, and the achievements in adopting guidance texts on early dismissal and preliminary determination, promoting the reform of the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, and advancing dispute resolution methods in the digital economy. It is hoped that through the Summit, the speakers would conduct in-depth discussions on the issues brought about by the wave of global digitization, and turn the challenges of the era into opportunities for development.
Wang Zhenjiang indicated that the MOJ has taken a coordinated approach to promoting the rule of law at home and in matters involving foreign parties, so as to realize the rapid development of the legal service, make great progress, and provide a strong guarantee to the rule of law for the international economic and trade transactions. The MOJ will continue to accelerate the revision of the Arbitration Law, build an international commercial arbitration center, optimize the rules of the internationalized arbitration system, and strengthen the training of foreign-related talents, in order to promote the high-quality development of arbitration.
Liu Guixiang mentioned that the wave of sci-tech revolution and industrial trans-formation has brought about new situations and challenges, and the future of commercial arbitration and litigation will be more deeply integrated with scientiﬁc and technological innovations such as big data, artiﬁcial intelligence and blockchain. He suggested to grasp the new opportunities of the technological revolution to improve arbitration service, standardize online arbitration to improve its credibility, and improve the judicial review system of arbitration to better safeguard the development of arbitration. The SPC has always been supporting the development of arbitration and had fulﬁlled its judicial function of supporting and supervising arbitration in accordance with the law. The People’s Courts will continue to improve the system of judicial review of arbitration to safeguard and promote the development of arbitration in China.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, the 3rd Belt and Road Arbitration Institutions Forum was held concurrently with the Summit, releasing the “Cooperation Mechanism on Foreign Law Ascertainment of the Belt and Road Arbitration Institutions” and holding a launching ceremony. Wang Chengjie pointed out in his speech that since the “Beijing Joint Declaration of the Belt and Road Arbitration Institutions” (“Beijing Joint Declaration”) launched by more than 40 domestic and foreign major arbitration institutions and led by CIETAC in 2019, and the issue of the Cooperation Mechanism of the Beijing Joint Declaration of the Belt and Road Arbitration Institutions (the “Cooperation Mechanism”) jointly by 47 domestic and foreign arbitration institutions in 2021, CIETAC has actively carried out international exchanges and cooperation, continuously developing friendships of the rule of law alongside the “Belt and Road”. The launch of the Cooperation Mechanism on Foreign Law Ascertainment of the Belt and Road Arbitration Institutions is the latest achievement in implementing the rule of law cooperation in arbitration in the Belt and Road, which helps to create a stable, fair, transparent, and predictable business environment under the rule of law for the resolution of international commercial disputes alongside the Belt and Road. Up to now, the Memorandum has a total of 39 cooperating parties, including 24 international arbitration institutions and relevant dispute resolution organizations from nearly 20 countries and regions in Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Africa, etc. In order to further strengthen international arbitration communication and cooperation, he suggested to jointly build a higher quality dispute resolution mechanism, achieve a higher-level research results of the rule of law, and create a communication platform of higher standard of the rule of law for the “Belt and Road”, so as to open up a new chapter for the cooperation in the construction of the “Belt and Road”.
The launching ceremony of the Cooperation Mechanism was held during the Summit. The audience gave warm applause to express their congratulations.
Subsequently, in order to further enhance inter-institutional cooperation and exchanges and continuously promote the development of international arbitration, Wang Chengjie, on behalf of CIETAC, signed the cooperation agreements with Asian International Arbitration Center (“AIAC”) and Asian Institute of Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mongolian International Arbitration Center (“MIAC”), and Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration (“SCCA”) respectively.
During the keynote speech, Zhang Shuming stated that in recent years, People’s Courts in China have been dedicated to improving the rule of law, professionalization and internationalization of commercial arbitration and the construction of the “Belt and Road” through judicial approaches, which have achieved remarkable results. The SPC has strengthened the guidance on arbitration judicial review to ensure the correct application of the law, issued guiding cases for arbitration judicial review, uniﬁed the adjudication standards, promoted the reform and improvement of the arbitration system, and facilitated the internationalization of arbitration. In the face of the new wave of sci-tech revolution and industrial transformation, which had brought new problems and challenges to the judicial review of arbitration, he suggested that the revision of the Arbitration Law should be taken as an opportunity to improve the arbitration legal system, and that the development of arbitration should be coordinated from the perspective of national and global governance, so as to enhance the ability to serve the national strategy of overall opening-up and development.
The theme of the Summit is “International Arbitration Riding on the New Wave of Sci-Tech Revolution and Industrial Transformation”. Experts from home and abroad delivered themed speeches and discussed under the sessions of “Global Perspectives: Latest Development of ADR Mechanisms”, “Frontier Dialogue: New Observations on Hot Issues in International Arbitration”, and “Future Vision: New Trend of Arbitration Development in a Time of Change”, keeping up with the hot issues at the forefront of international arbitration development in the new era, aiming to improve business environment alongside the “Belt and Road” under the rule of law and facilitate its high-quality development.
In Session I, the panelists delivered keynote speeches on the new development of arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in the international community, sharing the efforts made by various institutions in the areas of mediation-arbitration coordination, online dispute resolution, and responsive reforms of the international arbitration rules. It is advocated that the international arbitration community work together to build a new pattern of dispute resolution, which is open, inclusive, cooperative and mutual-beneﬁcial, against the backdrop of the slowing down of the development of the global trade and the weak performance of the world economy.
In Session II, focusing on the introduction of the early dismissal and preliminary determination system, the development of the practice of Third-Party Funding, the improvement of preservation measures by courts and interim measures of arbitral tribunals, and other new trends and changes, the panelists shared their views from different perspectives, and provided new ideas for the continuous innovation and development of the cause of arbitration.
In Session III, the panelists discussed the role of arbitration in advancing the new round of scientiﬁc and technological revolution and industrial reformation, and jointly explored in depth on how to seize the opportunity in the era of change and reformation and how to enhance the development of intelligent arbitration, in order to realize the breakthrough and innovation of arbitration system, and to support the steady and sustainable development of new industries and new economy.
The one-day conference concluded with lively discussions and communication. At the closing ceremony, Gao Zicheng, President of the ACLA and Wang Chengjie, Vice Chairman and Secretary General of CIETAC, delivered the closing remarks. Xu Yanbo, Deputy Secretary General of CIETAC, moderated the closing ceremony.
In the closing remark, Gao Zicheng noted that the development of internet technology has brought new challenges to the quality and efﬁciency of arbitration and international arbitration rules. He suggested that the arbitration community shall keep up and improve the regulations for arbitration and arbitral hearings, make good use of science and technology, promote the construction of intelligent arbitration, give full play to the unique role of mediation, and facilitate the development, innovation and reform of the global alternative disputes resolution mechanism, so as to support the high-quality development of the digital economy, the intelligent economy and the green economy.
Wang Chengjie mentioned that, the new round of sci-tech revolution has profound inﬂuence on the global economic structure. The new economy and new industries will become the crucial blue ocean for international dispute resolution. With the unique characteristics and advantages, international arbitration will play a more essential role in resolving international commercial disputes, optimizing the inter-national business environment and promoting the construction of the international rule of law. CIETAC will uphold the concept of mutual-beneﬁcial cooperation and common development, and make joint efforts with the international arbitration community to inaugurate a new era of globalization, development and cooperation in international arbitration.
The Summit was fruitful and achieved great success.