北京仲裁委员会

PPP合同性质及可仲裁性/Legal nature and arbitrability of PPP contracts

发布时间: 2018-5-14   供稿人:谭静慧

随着PPP(public-private partnership,即政府和社会资本合作)领域法律制度的发展,相关合同的性质及争议解决方式(特别是其可仲裁性问题)日益成为理论与实务界的关注焦点。本文结合笔者起草PPP 协议示范文本的体会,从五个方面就PPP 合同性质和可仲裁性作简要分析。

从合同目的角度看PPP合同的性质。PPP合同目的有二:第一,福利社会;第二,社会投资人获得合理收益。显然,福利社会作为公权力机构的行政目的,具有典型行政性;而合理收益则与经营主体的自主行为具有关联性,因而带有一定的民商事特征。

从PPP合同成立的角度看,有四个“依赖”特征。第一,PPP合同的成立依赖于一定的行政行为,包括行政许可、行政决定和行政监督等形式。第二,PPP合同的成立依赖于项目的可实施性。纵观整个PPP项目操作,从可行性研究报告、市场测试、投资考察到最后形成PPP项目实施方案,始终在寻求项目的可实施性。

第三,PPP合同的实施依赖于国家相关政策。比如去年发布的《关于规范政府和社会资本合作(PPP)综合信息平台项目库管理的通知》(92号文)和《关于加强中央企业PPP 业务风险管控的通知》(¬192号文),最直接影响即为融资难度加大。第四,PPP合同的盈利依赖于长周期的整体市场经济环境。PPP项目全生命周期可达30年,尤 其是兼具产业发展的项目,包括基础设施、产业园区建设、地产开发等多方面,其表现充满不确定性,与城市周边区域经济发展紧密相关。从前述四个方面看,PPP合同与行政性存在重要交集。

从PPP 项目法律关系特征看PPP合同性质。一方面,PPP项目标的与基础设施和公共产品有关,具有典型的国家专有权属性和行政性。另一方面,PPP合同的合理收益受上限管控。财政部相关文件已经有了明确规定,竣工、运营、绩效考核与收费、缺口补助等一众行为与行政行为密切相关。另外在PPP项目合作协议示范文本中,专门引入了政府在特别事件发生时的介入权,当然也应当注意行使介入权的适当性。

从交易特点看PPP合同的民事性。首先,PPP项目的招标采购环节,是以社会投资人自愿为前提的,包括自主报价、自主选择。其次,PPP项目招标采购的方式和内容,包括竞争性谈判、竞争性磋商等,本身就是具有明显的可协商性、可磋商性的。再次,PPP合同的履行与经营过程中,又具有相当的自主性,在授权的范围内是可以自由自主地经营该项目的。最后,从PPP合同的法律适用看,《政府采购法》第43条明确规定政府采购合同适用合同法,认可了其中的平等性、有偿性等民商事特性。

笔者认为,关于PPP合同性质及相关特性,基于其强公益性和市场运行需要,应通过立法采用有名特定合同方式安排,方可符合其特定属性并实现立法价值,由此产生的相关民事争议,完全可适用仲裁程序解决。

关于PPP合同可仲裁性。通过仲裁方式来处理PPP合同争议,如下问题或值得研究。其一,PPP合同约定政府义务的行政性与民事性判断和仲裁管辖权问题。PPP合同对政府方约定义务的行政性和民事性辨别将成为纠纷争议的焦点,继而影响仲裁的管辖和实体审理。其二,PPP争议仲裁与其他行政救济的交叉。PPP合同订立过程比较复杂,从招标采购开始即有可能出现异议、投诉、行政复议、行政诉讼,因而可能产生多种争议程序交错,并进一步引发中止和平行推进的协调问题。

其三,关于违约金与国家赔偿问题。PPP项目争议案件处理的程序效率、民事赔偿与国家赔偿等问题,因政府方不能履约且导致合同目的不能实现的解除权问题、赔偿利益安排问题、相关违约金约定效力问题等方面,尤其值得研究。

作者:谭敬慧,北京仲裁委员会/北京国际仲裁中心仲裁员,建纬(北京)律师事务所主任。北仲仲裁秘书刘念琼对英文内容亦有贡献。

谭静慧 Tan Jinghui

As legal practice in the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) field evolved, it has triggered regulatory debate on the legal nature of such contracts and the choice of suitable dispute resolutions – whether relevant PPP disputes are arbitrable. This article is a response to such debate, and is a reflection of the author’s hands-on experiences in drafting the standard text of PPP contracts.

The legal nature of a PPP contract:two tiers originate from the purpose.The contractual purpose of PPP practice includes the welfare consideration, which belongs to the public section of the contract, and the commercial consideration, which often refers to a profitable outcome for the private section. Two tiers of the contractual purpose are made up of the administrative characteristic for the public, and the civil and commercial characteristic for the private, so that the contractual parties can conduct PPPs with their free will.

The establishment of the PPP contract relies on four elements. First, the establishment of the PPP contract relies on administrative actions including administrative licensing, administrative decisions and administrative supervisions. Second, the establishment of the PPP contract relies on the feasibility of the project. The feasibility is the key factor that runs through the entire process and involves a series of activities such as the feasibility study report, market tests, investment observation and the formation of the scheme. Third, the implementation of a PPP contract is associated with the state’s policies.

The Notice of the General Office of the Ministry of Finance on Regulating the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Comprehensive Information Platform and the Notice of the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council on Strengthening the PPP Business Risk Management and Control of Stateowned Capital of Central Enterprises,issued last year, bring profound influences to the field.

The most immediate effect is the increasing difficulty in financing. Fourth,the profit of a PPP contract depends on the long-term market economic environment.The life cycle of a PPP project can take up to 30 years. In particular, for projects with industrial development that contain several aspects such as infrastructure, construction of an industrial park and real estate development,the implementation is full of uncertainty and has a closed relationship with the surrounding economic development.From the above-mentioned perspectives,a PPP contract has important connections with administrative authority.

The legal nature of a PPP contract: administrative characteristic originating from legal relations. On the one hand, a PPP project is related to infrastructure and public products, indicating the state-owned and administrative characteristics. On the other hand, an upper control limit has been imposed on the maximum profit that a PPP project can make. The regulative document issued by the Ministry of Finance clearly shows that there are strong links between the administrative actions and activities in PPP projects such as completion, operation, performance appraisal, charges and subsidies.

In addition, the standard text of a PPP contract specifically introduces the intervention right of the government in particular circumstances. This right should be exercised appropriately.

The civil characteristic of a PPP contract originates from transaction practice. First, the bidding procurement of a PPP project is built upon party autonomy so that private investors can quote and make choices independently. Second, the methods of the bidding procurement, such as competitive negotiation and competitive consultation, are negotiable.Third, the private investors can carry out autonomous operations within the scope that the authority allows. Finally, article 43 of the Government Procurement Law of the People's Republic of China provides that the Contract Law must be applicable to contracts for government procurements. So the equal and compensable characteristics of PPP contracts have been admitted.

In considering the complicated legal nature and characteristics of the PPP contract, in order to meet the demand of public interest and market operation, making the PPP contract a nominative contract in legislation is necessary. And the civil disputes arising from the PPP contract should be arbitrable.

The arbitrability of a PPP contract. PPP contract disputes raise a number of interesting issues in arbitration proceedings. First, differentiation of the legal nature of obligations of the government stipulated in the PPP contract can have effects on the jurisdiction and proceedings. Second, arbitration and other administrative options can overlap. Since the concluding process of a PPP contract is complicated, objection, complaint, administrative reconsideration and administrative litigation are likely to occur, bringing the problem of dealing with relationships among the different dispute resolution procedures. Third, the efficiency of the procedure, civil and state compensation, rescission when the purpose of the contract cannot be realized due to non-performance of the government, interest arrangements in compensation, and the effectiveness of liquidated damages stipulated in the contract can also be questions deserve discussing in arbitration.

Tan Jinghui is an arbitrator at Beijing Arbitration Commission/Beijing International Arbitration Centre (BAC/BIAC) and the director of City Development Law Firm (Beijing). BAC/BIAC’s case manager, Liu Nianqiong, also contributed to the English version

因本合同引起的或与本合同有关的任何争议,均提请北京仲裁委员会/北京国际仲裁中心按照其仲裁规则进行仲裁。仲裁裁决是终局的,对双方均有约束力。
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