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CIETAC Hong Kong successfully organizes its seminar - “Towards Effective Resolution of Construction Disputes” - at Yangon, Myanmar

On 25 July 2018, CIETAC Hong Kong Arbitration Center (CIETAC Hong Kong) successfully organized a seminar titled “Towards Effective Resolution of Construction Disputes” at Yangon, Myanmar. The seminar was participated by practitioners who have significant experience in construction and commercial disputes and they were able to provide a useful overview on how construction disputes can be effectively resolved. The seminar was attended by more than 100 persons of which the majority were senior officials of major construction companies that also include companies set up by Chinese enterprises in Myanmar.



Dr. Raymond P Ho, Director at ARP Engineering Limited Myanmar, and an esteemed Member of the Lighthouse Club, gave the opening remarks. During his opening remarks, Dr. Ho emphasized on the independent and impartial position maintained by the Hong Kong judiciary which has enabled Hong Kong to become one of the most ideal places to resolve disputes arising from cross-border contracts. Dr. Ho also spoke about the important role that Hong Kong plays in the construction industry. The opening remarks by Dr. Ho was followed by a brief presentation Mr. Jacobus Du-Plessis, Associate at VDB-Loi Myanmar, in which he introduced the legal practice of Myanmar and also introduced VDB-Loi’s area of practice in Myanmar



The panel session was moderated by Mr. Brad Wang, Managing Counsel at CIETAC Hong Kong, and the speakers on the panel were Mr. Edwin Vanderbruggen, Senior Partner at VDB-Loi Myanmar, Ms. Suegene Ang, Resident Partner at WongPartnership LLP Myanmar, Mr. Ho Chien Mien, Partner at Allen and Gledhill Singapore, and Prof. Steve Ngo, Chairman - Arbitration and International Dispute Resolution Practice Group at ASEAN Legal Alliance.  The session began with Mr. Edwin Vanderbruggen primarily explaining the role of the Myanmar Courts in resolving construction disputes and their approach towards arbitration. With the help of real-life cases Mr. Vanderbruggen highlighted the effectiveness of Myanmar courts to resolve certain matters pertaining to construction as compared to arbitration. The second speaker of the session, Ms. Suegene Ang spoke briefly about the advantages of arbitration over litigation and explained why arbitration is a better option to effectively resolve cross-border construction disputes. Additionally, she highlighted the importance of avoiding further escalation of the dispute by effectively managing the dispute at its initial stage.

Mr. Ho Chien Mien, the third speaker of the session, spoke on the practical considerations of managing international construction arbitrations. In his presentation, Mr. Ho Chien Mien highlighted on why it is beneficial for the parties to refer construction disputes to arbitration. He also listed out the advantages and disadvantages of institutional and ad-hoc arbitration respectively and stated that it is on the parties to eventually decide on the mode of arbitration that would best suit their interest. The last speaker of the session, Prof. Steve Ngo, briefly introduced investment arbitration and explained its importance in facilitating the resolution of disputes arising from contracts entered into between a foreign investor and a sovereign State. He also mentioned about the numerous standards of protection available to foreign investors via the Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT) and through the help of case he illustrated how the BIT can benefit numerous foreign construction companies. 



Mr. Brad Wang while moderating the session highlighted the advantages of institutional arbitration and also pointed CIETAC Hong Kong’s ability to provide services for facilitating the conduct of ad-hoc arbitration. He also shared the vast experience that CIETAC has in administering arbitration cases and further emphasized on CIETAC’s services, such as mediation, that has played a very important role in facilitating the effective resolution of construction disputes.



The seminar concluded with a highly interactive question and answer session during which numerous members of the audience raised questions to get a clearer picture on arbitration practice. Overall, the seminar was a great success, and it was an enriching experience for CIETAC Hong Kong.
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