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Introduction

The China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) is one of the major permanent arbitration institutions in the world.

Formerly known as the Foreign Trade Arbitration Commission, CIETAC was set up in April 1956 under the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) in accordance with the Decision Concerning the Establishment of A Foreign Trade Arbitration Commission Within the China Council For the Promotion of International Trade adopted on May 6, 1954 at the 215th session of the Government Administration Council. To meet the needs of China’s ever-developing economic and trade relations with foreign countries after the adoption of the "reform and opening-up" policy, the Foreign Trade arbitration was first renamed as Foreign Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission in 1980 pursuant to the State Council’s Notice Concerning the Conversion of the Foreign Trade Arbitration Commission Into the Foreign Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission, and then as the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission in 1988 pursuant to the State Council’s Official Reply Concerning the Renaming of the Arbitration Commission as the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission and Amendment of Its Arbitration Rules. Since 2000, CIETAC is also known as the Arbitration Court of the China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC).

CIETAC independently and impartially resolves economic and trade disputes, as well as investment disputes by means of arbitration. 

Headquartered in Beijing, CIETAC has South China Sub-Commission in Shenzhen, Shanghai Sub-Commission, Tianjin International Economic and Financial Arbitration Center (Tianjin Sub-Commission), Southwest Sub-Commission in Chongqing, Zhejiang Sub-Commission in Hangzhou, Hubei Sub-Commission in Wuhan, Fujian Sub-Commission in Fuzhou, Silk Road Arbitration Center in Xi'an, Jiangsu Arbitration Center in Nanjing, Sichuan Sub-Commission in Chengdu and Shandong Sub-Commission in Jinan. CIETAC set up its Hong Kong Arbitration Center in September 2012.

CIETAC and its sub-commissions/arbitration centers constitute a single arbitration institution. They adopt the same set of Arbitration Rules and the same Panel of Arbitrators. It is explicitly stipulated in CIETAC’s Articles of Association that sub-commissions/arbitration centers are branches of CIETAC which accept arbitration applications and administer arbitration cases with CIETAC’s authorization.

In order to meet the needs of the development of its arbitration practices, CIETAC also successively established 29 liaison offices in different regions and specific business sectors to provide parties with convenient arbitration advice.

Throughout the past 60 years, CIETAC has made prominent contributions to the legislation of the Chinese Arbitration Law and the development of the arbitration practice in China, has maintained positive relations and cooperation with major arbitration institutions across the world, and has gained reputation at home and abroad as an independent, impartial and efficient arbitration institution.

CIETAC has constantly updated its arbitration rules to keep in line with the latest developments in international arbitration practice and to better accommodate the needs of the parties. Its current arbitration rules are effective as from January 1, 2015.

In accordance with the New York Convention, CIETAC awards are recognized and enforceable 159 countries. CIETAC’s Nearly 30,000 concluded arbitration cases have involved parties from more than 100 countries and regions outside the Mainland China, and its awards have been recognized and enforced worldwide. Since 1990, CIETAC’s caseload has been one of the heaviest among the world’s major arbitration institutions, especially in recent years, CIETAC handled more than 2,000 cases annually on average.

● The main business functions of CIETAC include:

1. Accepting international, foreign-related and domestic cases involving natural persons, legal persons, and other organizations that are treated as equal subjects under the law;

2. Offering other dispute resolutions services in accordance with the agreement of the parties;

3. Accepting cases on the authorization of governments, international organizations and other institutions at home and abroad;

4. Providing services on demand, such as appointing arbitrators for institutional or non-institutional arbitration in accordance with the agreement and request of the parties;

5. Providing to the legislature for its reference legal opinions and advice on relevant legislation and amendments to the law;

6. Making researches in and promoting commercial and investment arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution;

7. Fostering domestic and international exchange and cooperation in arbitration and participating arbitration activities at home and abroad.

● Highlights of CIETAC’s arbitration services.

Broad jurisdiction and internationalized procedures

CIETAC accepts foreign-related and international cases, as well as domestic ones. Its scope of accepting cases is not limited by the nature of the parties’ business or their nationalities. The domestic cases filed with CIETAC are typically multi-industry, trans-regional and interdisciplinary, with a trend towards an increase in those related to the new economy.

CIETAC is gradually developing into one of the major arbitration institutions in the world dealing with complicated, large-claim, or foreign-related disputes.

Independence and impartiality

CIETAC is independent of the administrative organs, and free from any administrative interference in handling cases. All parties have equal opportunities to present their cases during the arbitral proceedings.

Efficiency

It generally takes between one and three days to conduct an oral hearing and most CIETAC arbitrations can be concluded within four to six months after the formation of the arbitral tribunal. The time typically taken by CIETAC to render an award in international and foreign-related cases is significantly shorter than that of other international arbitration institutions.

Cost-effectiveness

As an international arbitration institution, CIETAC’s arbitration fees for international and foreign-related cases are relatively low. Its arbitration fees for domestic cases are at the same level as those of other arbitration institutions in China. Because of its finality and efficiency, arbitration is also more economical than litigation. Over 90% of CIETAC’s arbitral awards are promptly honored by the parties. Fewer than one in a thousand of CIETAC’s awards have been annulled or their enforcement rejected. Thus the parties save both time and money.

Combination of arbitration with conciliation

A salient feature of CIETAC arbitration is the combination of arbitration with conciliation, a practice which is internationally known as the "Oriental Model". It not only encourages dispute resolution but also helps to maintain friendship and cooperation between the parties. It’s an example that more and more foreign arbitration institutions are following.

Sector-specific dispute resolution services

Expert adjudication is a major advantage of arbitration. To best use this advantage, CIETAC was the first institution in China to provide tailor-made dispute resolution services for parties in different trades. CIETAC has set up special committees on construction, finance, grain, leather, and commerce, and it offers tailor-made services for dispute resolution in specific trades to satisfy the particular needs. At the same time, CIETAC also engages in actively in developing alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in addition to arbitration.

ADR Services

In addition to its traditional commercial arbitration service, CIETAC also provides parties with alternative dispute resolution services, including but not limited to domain name dispute resolution, online arbitration, investor-state dispute resolution and construction dispute review.

Mediation

CIETAC has set up its mediation center to provide parties with high-quality and efficient ADR services, with the unveiling ceremony held on May 18, 2018. CIETAC officially released its Mediation Rules with effect from October 1, 2018 and CEPA Investment Dispute Mediation Rules and panel of mediators with effect from December 12, 2018

Domain Name Dispute Resolution

Established in December 2000, CIETAC’s Domain Name Dispute Resolution Center resolves disputes involving .cn/.中国 under the authorization of China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC); and resolves disputes involving generic top-level domains (gTLDs) such as .com, .org, .net, etc. as well as new gTLDs, as the Beijing Office of the Asia Domain Name Dispute Resolution Center (ADNDRC) authorized by ICANN to resolve gTLDs disputes.

Online Arbitration

In 2005, CIETAC Domain Name Dispute Resolution Center started to concurrently use the “Online Dispute Resolution Center” as its name. In 2009, CIETAC released its Online Arbitration Rules (amended in 2014), offering expeditious and efficient online arbitration service.

Investment Dispute Resolution

Launching its International Investment Arbitration Rules (For Trial Implementation) in 2017, CIETAC provides arbitration service for international investment disputes arising out of contracts, treaties, laws and regulations, or other instruments between an investor and a State.

Appointed respectively as one of the institutions to resolve investment disputes by the Cross-Strait Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement in 2012, and by the Investment Agreements under the Mainland/Hong Kong, Macau Closer Economic Partnership Arrangements (CEPA) in 2017, CIETAC is authorized to resolve investment disputes between Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macau investors and the mainland through mediation. In 2018, CIETAC CIETAC enlisted 79 investment arbitrators from 36 countries and issued a Panel of International Investment Arbitrators on September 16. Among them, two-thirds are foreign arbitrators, ensuring the internationalization of the investment arbitrators. Meanwhile, CIETAC focused on the countries along the Belt and Road and the countries and regions, where 15 arbitrators are from.

Construction Dispute Review

CIETAC released its Construction Dispute Review Rules in 2010 (amended in 2014) to offer expert review service for the construction industry. It provides intervention and dispute resolution at an early stage of a construction project, so as to meet the particular needs dispute resolution of the construction industry.

With its emphasis on commercial arbitration, CIETAC has fostered a diversified, dynamic and interdependent service system for multiple dispute resolution.

Professional administration of arbitration proceedings

Since its establishment more than 60 years ago, CIETAC has accumulated a wealth of experience in case administration and has developed unique, rigorous and efficient administrative procedures. In addition, CIETAC’s professional case managers guarantee its high quality service.

Arbitration cannot be better than its arbitrators

CIETAC maintains a Panel of Arbitrators composed of 1,441 professionals, all of whom are renowned experts in arbitration or in a particular trade either at home or abroad. Among them, there are 408 arbitrators coming from 65 foreign jurisdictions. With both profound professional knowledge and a high standard of professional ethics, these CIETAC arbitrators along with the well-trained case managers at the CIETAC’s secretariats, are able to offer high-quality, efficient arbitration services.

CIETAC has earned a good reputation for its independence, impartiality and efficiency, and the quality of its awards has won wide acclaim from Chinese as well as foreign parties.

Pioneering spirit and ceaseless development

CIETAC’s unique 60 years of arbitration practice, renowned as the "Oriental Model", is considered a great contribution and enrichment of the theory and practice of international commercial arbitration. Experts from CIETAC have taken an active part in the drafting and amendment of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Conciliation and the UN Convention on International Sale of Goods. As the earliest and largest arbitration institution in China, CIETAC has made tremendous contributions to the legislation and development of China’s arbitration law, and plays a leading role among Chinese arbitration institutions in the practice and theoretical research on arbitration. Several CIETAC publications have been widely recognized and used in the domestic and international arbitration circles.

In line with the latest development in international commercial arbitration, CIETAC’s Arbitration Rules fully respect the principle of party autonomy within the framework of China’s Arbitration Law. CIETAC’s extensive publication list of legal books and periodicals, such as Compilation of Arbitral Awards, Selection of Arbitral Awards, Arbitration and Law, and Arbitration and Jurisdiction, demonstrates its role as a leading and pioneering flag-bearer in the theory and practice of arbitration.

As an international arbitration institution, CIETAC endeavors to promote international communication. Over the decades, CIETAC has engaged in friendly cooperation with major international organizations, leading arbitration institutions and other institutions, maintaining its voice and its capacity in guiding the theoretical development in international arbitration. CIETAC has also earned a good reputation and recognition in the international arbitration circles through the activities and conferences it has taken part in, hosted or sponsored. In its endeavor to promote arbitration globally and especially in the Asia-Pacific region, CIETAC has formed partnerships, based on cooperation agreements, with arbitration institutions from more than 50 countries and regions. Each year, CIETAC receives numerous visits by foreign governments, arbitration institutions and other dispute resolution organizations, law firms, universities and colleges for exchanges and discussions.

In response to the development and growth of international trade and in order to satisfy the ever-increasing demands of social economy and the needs of various parties, CIETAC will remain pragmatic, innovative and pioneering. It will continue taking the initiatives to increase the diversification and quality in its services and to promote efficiency and credibility in its operations. CIETAC’s goal is to become a major international commercial dispute resolution center that meets international standards and norms, and to provide parties with impartial, independent, professional and efficient multiple dispute resolution services.

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