2018 Hong Kong Summit on Commercial Dispute Resolution in China Successfully Hosted

Publish time: 2018-11-20

On 27 October 2018, the 2018 Hong Kong Summit on Commercial Dispute Resolution in China (the “Summit”), jointly organized by the Beijing Arbitration Commission / Beijing International Arbitration Center (the “BAC”) and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators East Asia Branch (the “CIArb (EAB)”), was successfully hosted at Baker & McKenzie Hong Kong Office.

As a global financial center, Hong Kong is an important hub where China and the western world blended with each other economically and culturally. The Summit has attracted more than one hundred leading figures of international arbitration community from a number of countries and regions within the Asia and Pacific area, who have conducted an extensive and in-depth discussion on hot topics of Sino commercial dispute resolution, such as international arbitration, commercial mediation, dispute resolution in construction, energy, investment & finance, and also on core issues of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The Summit

The opening ceremony of the Summit was moderated by Mr. Paul Teo, Head of Baker & McKenzie Arbitration Practice in Greater China. Mr. Teo expressed warm welcome to the audience for their visit to Baker & McKenzie, and presented a vivid introduction of the keynote speakers of the opening ceremony. He wished the Summit a great success.

Mr. Paul Teo

Dr. Chen Fuyong, Deputy Secretary General of the BAC, then delivered an opening address. Firstly, he extended sincere thanks to the joint organizer, sponsors, supporters, media supporters and the audience for their support and attendance. Next, he stressed that the BAC, with rich experience in its international arbitration practice, is not only capable of providing high qualified dispute resolution services to Chinese and foreign parties, but also endeavors to build an exchange platform for Chinese and foreign professionals. He expected that speakers and the audience could enjoy fruitful exchanges and experience sharing in this Summit.

Dr. Chen Fuyong

Thereafter, Ms. Mary Thomson, President of the CIArb (EAB), delivered an opening address on behalf of the joint organizer. She appreciated the BAC’s holding of the Summit, where the professionals of the industry could enjoy professional exchanges together. The CIArb (EAB) also looked forward to contributing its share to promote the industry with its own growth and progress.

Ms. Mary Thomson

Madame Zhang Yuejiao, Professor of Tsinghua University, delivered a keynote speech. She said that arbitration has won the parties favor with its impartiality, enforceability and its respect to party autonomy. Commercial arbitration awards are especially valuable thanks to their cross-border enforceability under the New York Convention. In addition, she also referred to the word formation of “arbitration” in Chinese Character, and thereby introduced the wisdom of arbitration in the traditional Chinese culture. With her own experience of case handling as an arbitrator at the BAC, she spoke highly of the BAC’s high-tech case management system, which contributes to efficient case administration and the transparency of arbitral procedure.

Prof. Zhang Yuejiao

Following the opening ceremony, the Session on arbitration commenced. It is moderated by Mr. Neil Kaplan, a renowned international arbitrator. The keynote speakers consisted of Dr. Wang Xuehua, Partner of Beijing Huanzhong Law Firm, Mr. Zhang Zhi, Founder of DS Legal Capital and Managing Partner of V&T Law Firm. Ms. Sarah Grimmer, Secretary General of the HKIAC, and Dr. Arthur Dong, Partner of Anjie Law Firm, acted as commentators.

Mr. Neil Kaplan

Dr. Wang Xuehua

Mr. Zhang Zhi

Ms. Sarah Grimmer

Dr. Arthur Dong

Dr. Wang Xuehua entitled his speech “Rethinking Some Issues of Arbitration in China”, and provided review, analysis and prospect of the Chinese arbitration. Mr. Zhang Zhi gave a speech themed “A Harmonious Journey: The Chinese Path of Third Party Funding in Arbitration”. Ms. Sarah shared the experience of HKIAC in the appointment of presiding arbitrator and also introduced the pro-attitude of Hong Kong courts with regard to interim measures, citing the successful enforcement of an interim measure ordered by the BAC emergency arbitrator as a good example. Dr. Arthur Dong suggested that parties could made specification on the qualifications of the presiding arbitrator in their arbitration clause, which would enhance the predictability in the process of arbitrator appointment.

Panelists of Session on Arbitration

The next Session was on mediation, which was moderated by Mr. Chris Poole, President and CEO of JAMS. Mr. Fei Ning, Managing Partner of Hui Zhong Law Firm, acted as the keynote speaker. Dr. Francis Law, President of Hong Kong Mediation Centre, Mr. Aloysius Goh, Singapore International Mediation Centre, and Mr. Zhao Ping, Partner of Jincheng Tongda & Neal, acted as commentators.

Mr. Chris Poole

Mr. Fei Ning

Dr. Francis Law

Mr. Aloysius Goh

Mr. Zhao Ping

Mr. Fei Ning gave a keynote speech themed “The Recent development of commercial mediation practice in China”. He said that with the approval of the final drafts of the “Singapore Mediation Convention”, the enforceability of settlement agreement resulting from mediation has been improved, which has greatly promoted the growth of commercial mediation. Dr. Francis Law highlighted that the Hong Kong Mediation Centre has trained a number of professional mediators, and thereby contributed its share to the mediation industry. Mr. Aloysius Goh pointed out that under different legal systems and different eras, the term of mediation has different meanings. In view of the heavy caseload of Chinese courts, he thought that mediation should be a preferred means of dispute resolution. Mr. Zhao Ping stressed the Chinese tradition of regarding harmony as fundamentality, and introduced the status quo of mediation in Shanghai. He also shared the practice experience of several professional mediation institutions in Shanghai such as the Shanghai Commercial Mediation Center.

Panelists of Session on Mediation

The next Session was on energy. Dr. Colin Ong QC acted as the moderator, and Mr. Zhang Weihua, Vice President and General Counsel of United Energy Group Limited the keynote speaker. Mr. Qi Xiaodong (Chris Chi), Vice President of MXIS Group, Mr. Robert Davidson, Executive Director of JAMS Arbitration Dept., and Mr. Hu Ke, Partner of Jingtian & Gongcheng, were commentators.

Dr. Colin Ong QC

Mr. Zhang Weihua

Mr. Qi Xiaodong

Mr. Robert Davidson

Mr. Hu Ke

Dr. Colin Ong QC provided a general introduction of Joint Operation Agreement (the “JOA”) and Forfeiture Clause. Mr. Zhang Huawei then gave a speech on “Forfeiture Clause in JOAs – From International Arbitration Perspective”, providing analyses of the pros and cons of compensation methods and forfeiture clauses under different JOA. Based on his extensive experience, Mr. Qi Xiaodong said that under the JOA cooperation framework within the energy industry, parties’ rights are intertwined with their obligations, and thus it is understandable that in some cases claims based on single forfeiture clauses are not upheld. Mr. Robert Davidson provided interpretations on the topic under American law. Mr. Hu Ke started from the interpretation of Article 113 of the PRC Contract Law, and thought that liquidated damages under the PRC law should be deemed compensatory, however the forfeiture clause itself is punitive.

Panelists of Session on Energy

The session subsequent to the coffee break was on construction. This was moderated by Dr. Christopher To, Arbitrator accredited by the CIArb and Mediator accredited by the Hong Kong Mediation Accreditation Association. Dr. Zhou Xianfeng, Partner of JunHe LLP, and Mr. Li Zhiyong, General Manager of Legal & Risk Control Department of POWERCHINA INTERNATIONAL GROUP LIMITED, acted as the keynote speakers, and Mr. Cui Qiang, Partner of Commerce and Finance Law Offices, the commentator.

Dr. Christopher To

Dr. Zhou Xianfeng

Mr. Li Zhiyong

Mr. Cui Qiang

Dr. Zhou Xianfeng delivered a speech themed “Perspective And Challenges For Construction Law & Practice In China”. He highlighted that the EPC contract as an integrated framework agreement is facing multi-layered challenges under the PRC law. In his speech on “New Trend of ADR in Chinese Overseas Construction Industry”, Mr. Li Zhiyong said that with the progress of the Belt and Road Initiative, the Chinese investment in infrastructure overseas has been going up, and thus Chinese construction companies are improving their management system and risk prevention capability. Mr. Cui Qiang stressed that “back to back” payment clauses in construction industry should be highly carefully dealt with.

Panelists of Session on Construction

The last session was on investment and finance, which was moderated by Mr. Thomas So, Former President of The Law Society of Hong Kong. Mr. Bao Zhi, Partner of Fen Xun Partners, and Dr. Tao Xiuming, Partner of JunZeJun Law Offices, delivered the keynote speeches. Commentators included Dr. William Wong SC, Head of Arbitration Committee of Hong Kong Bar Association, and Ms. Sharon Nye, Executive Director and Litigation & Regulatory Enforcement Counsel of Morgan Stanley.

Mr. Thomas So

Dr. Tao Xiuming

Mr. Bao Zhi

Dr. William Wong SC

Sharon Nye女士点评Ms. Sharon Nye

Dr. Tao Xiuming’s speech was themed “Annual Review of Financial Dispute Resolution in China”. He clarified the influence of government documents and policies on financial disputes. Mr. Bao Zhi spoke on “The Impact of Regulatory Changes on Private Investment Disputes in China”, and shared the latest court rulings and business practice in this regard. Dr. William Wong thought that to make financial regulation, it needs a cautious consideration of the expected regulatory goals. Ms. Sharon Nye provided comments from the view of American investment banks.

The closing ceremony was moderated by Mr. David Fong, Vice President of CIArb (EAB). And Ms. Teresa Cheng, Secretary for Justice of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR, delivered the closing remarks.

Mr. David Fong

Ms. Teresa Cheng stressed that the Belt and Road Initiative and the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau greater bay area by the PRC central government should be well cherished. She said the Hong Kong SAR will create greater opportunities, and provide professional trainings to arbitration and mediation practitioners, and thereby build a better platform for the young generations, and attract more talents.

Ms. Teresa Cheng

In warm applause, all speeches of the Summit came to the end. During the following cocktail party, the speakers and audience continued their heated discussion and exchange on interested topics.

Group photo of part the speakers

The success of this Summit symbolized a perfect conclusion of the BAC’s overseas roadshow events based on its annual report of the year. From Stockholm and London, to Edinburg and Hong Kong, the BAC has endeavored to keep close cooperation with its partners around the world, and unveil the excellent arbitration practice of China to the outside world. Starting from its first-time organization of the summit in London in 2013, the BAC has held such roadshows as an annual event for six consecutive years, and the Commercial Dispute Resolution in China: An Annual Review and Preview series have also been recognized as a significant reference by the global community to learn about the development of dispute resolution in China.

This Summit was supported and sponsored by a number of partners. Thanks are specifically extended to Baker & McKenzie, HKIAC, Hong Kong Mediation Centre, JAMS, Hong Kong Bar Association, The Law Society of Hong Kong, CACLO, Hong Kong Chinese Enterprises association Legal Profession Commission, Asian Academy of International Law and LEXPR for their assistance.

AnJie Law Firm, Jincheng Tongda & Neal, Commerce & Finance Law Offices and Jingtian & Gongcheng are appreciated for their sponsorships to the Summit.

Thanks are also due to media supporters including Wolters Kluwer, China Go Abroad and GAR.

With its pace of progress internationally, the BAC will stick to its values of independence, impartiality, professionalism and efficiency. And it will continue to provide first class services and strive to be the field leader in the promotion of diversified dispute resolution in China.

Model Arbitration Clause Arbitration Clause
All disputes arising from or in connection with this contract shall be submitted to Beijing Arbitration Commission / Beijing International Arbitration Center for arbitration in accordance with its rules of arbitration. The arbitral award is final and binding upon both parties.
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