CIETAC successfully organizes the first CIETAC Investment Arbitration Moot and the CIETAC Investment Arbitration Seminar in Xi’an
On 23rd and 24th February 2019, the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (hereinafter referred to as “CIETAC”) successfully organized the first CIETAC Investment Arbitration Moot (hereinafter referred to as the “Moot”) and the CIETAC Investment Arbitration Seminar at Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, Shaanxi province, P.R.C. After an exciting and intense competition between teams representing 14 highly reputed Universities, Shandong University tasted victory and was crowned the Champion team. The Best Advocates awards were bagged by Mr. Li Anhua from Shandong University and Ms. Zhang Huanglan from Peking University School of Transnational Law.
Before the commencement of the Moot, the Vice Chairman and the Secretary General of CIETAC, Mr. Wang Chengjie, welcomed the participants and the participating arbitrators. He also emphasized the importance of Xi’an in the context of the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative and highlighted the significance of the Moot under its context. CIETAC in the recent past has taken numerous efforts to contribute in the field of international investment arbitration. In 2017, it released the CIETAC International Investment Arbitration Rules which filled the gap for China’s investment arbitration practice. Mr. Wang Chengjie further stated that the Moot is being organized based on the experience and momentum gained by CIETAC by organizing the CIETAC Cup every year and that the Moot signifies CIETAC’s active involvement in the field of investment arbitration.
The Moot used the case study used for the 12th Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot Court which is one of the oldest and most reputed moot court competitions dealing with the subject of investment arbitration. More than 70 students showcased their advocacy skills in front of 29 highly experienced legal practitioners, from China and abroad, who sat as arbitrators in the Moot. In addition to grading the teams for their performance, the judges took time to provide useful and constructive feedback to the teams. The Moot also received strong support from reputed law firms based in China.
The two-day event received positive feedback from the participants, participating arbitrators and observers. Both, the students and the legal professionals, expressed their honour and pleasure to be part of the first edition of the Moot. The Moot not only helped the students to improve their linguistic skills but also provided them with the opportunity to get familiar with the concept and practice of international investment arbitration. The Moot was the first and the only competition held in Chinese mainland dealing with international investment arbitration.
The Moot was immediately followed by the CIETAC Investment Arbitration Seminar which was jointly organized by CIETAC and Xi’an Jiaotong University. The seminar was titled “Buckling-up for Road Bumps Ahead” and was attended by legal professionals, students and academics. The welcome remarks were delivered by the Vice Chairman and Secretary General of CIETAC, Mr. Wang Chengjie. In his remarks, Mr. Wang stated that CIETAC being the earliest arbitration institution in China has accumulated rich experience in international arbitration and is actively committed to becoming a world-class arbitration institution. He further mentioned that CIETAC is highly recognized and sought after by Chinese parties and foreign parties involved in “Belt and Road” related transactions. He affirmed that CIETAC is highly committed to improve the services provided for dispute resolution and will continue to strive towards providing world class arbitration services.
Mr. Wang Youyou, Deputy Director of Investment Law Division, Department of Treaty and Law, Ministry of Commerce of People’s Republic of China addressed the gathering on behalf of the supporting organization of the seminar, the Investment Law Division, Department of Treaty and Law, Ministry of Commerce of People’s Republic of China. During his address, Mr. Wang Youyou highlighted how China has been increasingly active in the field of international investment. He mentioned that the timing of the Moot and the seminar is highly significant considering China’s ever-expanding involvement in international investment related matters. He specifically pointed out that investment arbitration will play a major role in the near future.
On behalf of the co-organizer of the seminar, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Mr. Shan Wenhua, Dean of Faculty of Law, Xi’an Jiaotong University addressed the gathering. Mr. Shan stressed on how investment arbitration practice will play a very major role in China since it is one of the largest investors in other countries and also one of the largest acceptors of foreign investment. He mentioned that the Law Faculty of Xi’an Jiaotong University has been focussing on research and development in the field of international investment law. He proudly mentioned that Xi’an Jiaotong University has been involved in the drafting of numerous national treaties and also the CIETAC International Investment Arbitration Rules. He stated that the University will be committed to make constant academic contributions in the field of international law and will support relevant organizations to improve the quality of international law knowledge and practice.
The seminar later featured a panel discussion which focussed on the contemporary topics of international investment arbitration. The panel was comprised of Ms. Olga Boltenko (Partner at Fangda Law), Mr. Omar Garcia-Bolivar (Chairman of BG-Consulting), Prof. Chin Leng Lim (Professor at Chinese University Hong Kong), Ms. Sun Huawei (Partner at Zhong Lun Law Firm) and Mr. Paul Ngotho (Chartered Arbitrator from Kenya). With a diverse panel, insights and inputs on investment arbitration practice adopted in different jurisdictions were shared. Topical issues such as third-party funding in investment arbitration, importance of investment arbitration under the context of the Belt and Road initiative, challenge to arbitrators in investment arbitration and importance of mediation in settling investment disputes were discussed by the highly experienced panel members.
The closing remarks were given by Mr. Wang Yong, Vice Mayor of Xi’an City. Vice Mayor Wang Yong firstly congratulated CIETAC for the successful organization of the Moot and the seminar. He mentioned that in the past two years Xi’an has experienced good development and progress in a lot of areas and sectors. In 2018, the GDP growth of Xi’an was 8.2% which makes it the highest-ranked city in China in terms of GDP growth. He specified that the growth and development are attributed to the Belt and Road initiative. He further highlighted that as the starting point of the Silk Road, Xi’an is open to accepting different cultures and tradition and welcomed everyone to invest and contribute to Xi’an’s development. He expressed the efforts that will be taken by the Xi’an Municipal Government to support international commercial dispute resolution and affirmed that the Municipal Government will strive to build an environment which will assist in the development of international law and intellectual property law.
CIETAC Hong Kong Arbitration Center is honoured and delighted to have been actively involved in organizing the Moot and the seminar. The successful organization of the events is a sign of the sucess achieved by the Center in internationalising the practice and knowledge of arbitration in China.