Factsheet on Singapore’s Participation in Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Forum in Xi’an
1. Singapore can work with China and other countries to jointly develop a dispute resolution framework to support the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Mr Han Kok Juan, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Law, said this in his keynote address at the BRI Forum in Xi’an on 11 May 2018.
2. In January 2018, the Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China will create a procedure and organisation to handle the resolution of disputes arising from the BRI. In the same month, the Chinese Government announced that the Chinese Supreme People’s Court will set up three new international courts in Beijing, Xi’an and Shenzhen to deal with BRI disputes. The Xi’an Court in Northwest China will focus on serving the Silk Road Economic Belt (the “belt”), the Shenzhen Court in South China will cover the Maritime Silk Road (the “road”), while the Beijing Court will serve as the headquarters.
3. At the BRI Forum in Xi’an, government officials, legal practitioners and academics from various countries met to discuss the legal environment for the BRI. Other than Deputy Secretary (Law), the other foreign keynote speaker was Baroness Fairhead CBE, the Minister of State of the United Kingdom Department for International Trade.
4. When Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met Chinese President Xi Jinping in September 2017, they discussed new areas of bilateral cooperation. One of the areas identified was legal and judicial cooperation.
5. China has identified Xi’an as a key node for the BRI dispute resolution framework. In Xi’an, DS Han will meet representatives from the Shaanxi Government to discuss how the Singapore Ministry of Law can work with Shaanxi to establish node-to-node collaboration in dispute resolution.
6. Besides Xi’an, Deputy Secretary (Law) will also visit Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen to further co-operation and promote Singapore’s legal and dispute resolution services. He will meet with Chinese companies, law firms and arbitral institutions in each of these cities.