29 Sep 2021 Posted in [Speeches]
Mr Guan Jinping
Deputy Director of the Standing Committee of Hainan Provincial People’s Congress
Mr Lu Pengqi
Vice President of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade
Chairman of CCPIT Mediation Center
Ms Zheng Shuna
Vice President of the Chinese Law Society
Member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress
Member of the Constitution and Law Committee of the National People’s Congress
Ms Wang Shumei
Member of the Judicial Committee of the Supreme People’s Court
Chief of the Fourth Civil Tribunal
Mr Yan Jindong
Deputy Director-General of Bureau of People’s Participation and Promotion of the Rule of Law, Ministry of Justice, People’s Republic of China
Ladies and gentlemen
- It’s a pleasure to be here at the 6th edition of the International Mediation Summit.
- Thank you to the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and the People’s Government of Hainan Province for inviting me to speak at the Summit.
- The International Mediation Summit has grown from strength to strength since it first started in 2016. The growing participation from the government, industry and academia around the world shows the increasing interest in international mediation by China and many other countries.
- Singapore too has a keen interest in international mediation.
The Ministry of Law recently co-organised the Singapore Convention Week, just three weeks ago.
a. We had a week-long series of events focused on international dispute resolution, including mediation.
b. There was great interest from lawyers, in-house counsel, business executives, academics and government officials from around the world. Over 100 countries were represented, and China was among the countries with the largest number of participants.
c. I would like to express my appreciation to CCPIT and our partners in China for helping to spread the word. Thank you very much for the tremendous support.
- The strong attendance at the Singapore Convention Week and the International Mediation Summit reflects the recognition that mediation can be a viable means of resolving cross-border disputes, and help to facilitate trade and commerce.
It is apt that the Summit is held in Hainan this year.
a. The Chinese Government has announced plans to develop Hainan into a free trade port by 2025, with liberalisation of trade and investment.
b. With the expected increase in trade and investment, disputes will inevitably arise, and there will be a need for fair, effective dispute resolution mechanisms to be in place, to help businesses resolve their disputes efficiently and effectively.
New Era, New Idea, and New Pattern (新阶段、新理念、新格局)
- The theme of the conference is New Era, New Idea, and New Pattern. I will share some thoughts in these areas, in the context of international dispute resolution.
First, new era:
a. Needless to say, the world is entering a new era, with the pandemic.
b. Globally, lives and livelihoods have been impacted.
c. Businesses have also been affected – many were not able to fulfil their contractual obligations as the operating assumptions have changed.
Second, new idea:
a. The pandemic has shown us how unexpected circumstances can lead to disputes.
b. With businesses facing declining revenue and profit margins, and very uncertain future, mediation becomes extremely important.
c. Mediation is faster, more cost-effective, and preserves commercial relationships at a time when businesses most need it.
d. Businesses are starting to recognise this, and are no longer relying only on litigation and arbitration to resolve disputes.
i. Mediation caseload has increased – the Singapore International Mediation Centre’s caseload nearly doubled from 2019 to 2020.
ii. Mediation centres have been set up, to meet the needs of businesses – for example, the Hainan International Arbitration Court (HIAC) set up an International Mediation Centre in June 2020.
e. It is clear from these developments that mediation is on the rise.
Finally, new pattern:
a. In this context, the Singapore Convention on Mediation, which enables mediated settlement agreements to be enforced across borders, takes on more significance.
b. The Convention came into force in September 2020.
c. So far, 55 countries have signed the Convention, and 7 countries have ratified the Convention. China was one of the first signatories of the Convention when it opened for signature in Singapore in August 2019.
d. We look forward to China ratifying the Convention soon. The Convention will become more useful if more countries ratify. With a major economy like China becoming a party to the Convention, it will benefit the many companies doing business with China.
e. I am optimistic that more countries will come on board, and change the dispute resolution paradigm and pattern, in time to come.
Importance of Collaborations
- To better meet the dispute resolution needs of businesses, collaborations between countries will be key, given the cross-border nature of transactions and disputes.
- The Ministry of Law has signed MOUs with the Ministry of Justice of the People’s Republic of China and CCPIT in recent years. One of the areas of cooperation is international dispute resolution.
- Our dispute resolution institutions also work closely with their counterparts in China. Just last year, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and the Hainan International Arbitration Court signed a MOU to jointly promote arbitration. We hope to see similar collaborations among our mediation institutions.
- We are committed to work closely with our partners in this area, to better serve the dispute resolution needs of businesses in our countries and the region.
- Before I end, let me thank the organisers once again for the invitation.
- Unfortunately, I am not able to be in Hainan in person for the Summit, but I hope to be able to visit China soon.
- I wish all of you a very fruitful, successful Summit ahead.
- Thank you very much.
Last updated on 29 Sep 2021