CIETAC clears the air on sub-commissions

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Starting in April, the Shanghai sub-commission and the South China sub-commission of the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), without authorisation, declared themselves to be independent local arbitration institutions, perplexing arbitration law circles both inside and outside China. After the passage of more than a year, numerous questions continue to trouble concerned parties and colleagues in the arbitration sphere, making it imperative for CIETAC to clear up the facts and clarify its stance. I would like to thank China Business Law Journal for providing the forum in which to do this.

DDmainpicThe history

CIETAC is a foreign-related arbitration commission established by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (the China Chamber of International Commerce, which we will refer to as CCPIT) pursuant to a 1954 decision of the Government Administration Council of the central people’s government. The South China sub-commission and Shanghai sub-commission were originally CIETAC sub-commissions, established in 1982 and 1988 in Shenzhen and Shanghai by CCPIT, with the approval of the State Council. Their administrative, personnel and financial matters were under the control of the local people’s governments, but in terms of their business they were directly under the leadership of CIETAC. Pursuant to the CIETAC charter, CIETAC and its sub-commissions are a single arbitration commission and the sub-commissions are agencies of CIETAC. This status of the sub-commissions is in keeping with the spirit of China’s Arbitration Law and relevant regulations of the State Council, in keeping with history and in keeping with the objective facts.

The unique and important historical contributions made by CIETAC to the establishment of the China’s arbitration law system in the past 50 years are obvious to all. CIETAC has now become one of the world’s important commercial arbitration institutions. However, it is equally clear that CIETAC faces various problems due to systemic, historical and other reasons, which hold back its development. These problems mainly include the financial management system of “division of receipts and expenditures” that is divorced from the realities of CIETAC; and in the relationship between CIETAC and its sub-commissions, there exists such problems as impediment of operations, low efficiency, weak overall expression of co-operation, insufficient mobilisation and realisation of the sub-commissions’ dynamism and subjective initiative, etc.

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The author, Yu Jianlong, is Vice Chairman and Secretary General of the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission

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