Article contributed by Anusha Gopala Krishnan, Officer, Bar Council Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee; and photos by China Council for the Promotion of International Trade
The International Mediation Summit 2017 was hosted and organised by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (“CCPIT”) and Hangzhou Municipal Government on 18 and 19 September 2017 at the Hangzhou Marriott Hotel.
The Bar Council Malaysian Mediation Centre (“BC MMC”) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) and Cooperation Agreement with the Mediation Centre of the CCPIT/China Chamber of International Commerce (CCPIT/CCOIC Mediation Centre) on 19 September 2017 amidst much fanfare at the Summit, held to promote commercial mediation internationally; enhance global exchanges and cooperation in the field of mediation; and endorse China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” and Chinese reforms in alternative dispute resolution mechanism.
The Malaysian delegation was led by the President of the Malaysian Bar, George Varughese; and included the Co-Chairperson of the Bar Council Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, Nachammai Kumarappan Chettiar; and members of the Committee, Christine Khor Meow Wei, Shanti Abraham and Serene Ong Si-Oui.
The MoU and the Cooperation Agreement was signed by George Varughese and Li Jianning, Director-General of the CCPIT Commercial Legal Services Centre.
As part of the partnership, the Malaysia-China Business Mediation Centre (“MCBMC”) will be jointly set up by the representative mediation bodies in the two countries, namely CCPIT Mediation Centre and BC MMC. The establishment of the MCBMC is an immediate implementation of the first step in materialising the formation of the dispute resolution centre under the Belt and Road Initiative. Malaysia is the second Asian country which formed the joint mediation centre at governmental level with China, after Hong Kong.
George Varughese delivered congratulatory remarks at the opening ceremony and also took the opportunity to highlight the close ties between Malaysia and China which was forged 600 years ago during the Malacca Sultanate, in his speech. George Varughese reiterated that Malaysia has always been a consistent supporter of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Prominent speakers from different parts of the world such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Malaysia engaged in in-depth discussions regarding the present dispute resolution methods for cross-border transactions and the quick development of online dispute resolution (“ODR”).
Christine Khor and Shanti Abraham spoke at two sessions during the Summit, focusing on the opportunities and benefits of mediation in the Belt and Road Initiative; and the prospect of mediation during arbitration, respectively.
An important update that was noted at the Summit is that ODR is recognised as a growing trend in China, after the success of the pilot project in launching the first Internet Court in Hangzhou. The Internet Court has been in operation for a year now.
The BC MMC delegation was warmed by the hospitality shown by the CCPIT.