New Joint Venture - US China Business Mediation Center-Adds Options for Businesses Place (Asian Insider)

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

By: F. Peter Phillips

Businesspeople and legal counsel are familiar with the options available for resolving disputes between Chinese and American businesses—including arbitration (before CIETAC, ICC, Hong Kong, or other bodies) and courts (inside and outside of China). Now there is a third type of option— mediation.

The U.S.-China Business Mediation Center was established in 2004 as a joint project of the Conciliation Center of the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution (CPR). The purpose of the center is to provide an alternative to arbitration or litigation for the management and resolution of complex and significant commercial disputes arising between American and Chinese businesses.

Conciliation is a Chinese tradition, but commercial mediation of complex, high-stake business disputes is a relatively new practice. In the United States, Europe, and elsewhere, business mediation has proven to be a reliable, low-cost method of resolving complex business conflicts privately and quickly, on reasonable commercial terms, while maintaining good relationships and even adding value to the project at issue.

Mediation involves no judges or arbitrators, and parties are not required to resolve disputes unless they arrive at terms that they both agree to. The U.S.-China Business Mediation Center is an ambitious attempt to formalize this proven technique in the context of Sino-American business dealings.

The center has several features that are designed to attract the trust of and therefore the use of American and Chinese businesses:

• The rules under which the center’s mediations are conducted reflect accepted standards of American and Chinese business mediation and are fair and commercially rational.

• The Chinese and American mediators who are made available through the center have been jointly trained by CPR and CCPIT and are drawn from the highest echelons of Chinese and American lawyers and businesspeople.

• Mediators are selected by the parties, not by the center.

• The center is ethically rigorous, requiring observance of a code of ethics endorsed by mediation centers around the world, under the auspices of the Union International des Avocats.

More information, including the rules of the center, the names of the select Panel of Mediators, and advice on how to take advantage of this new facility, is available on the CPR Web site, www.cpradr.org, or the CCPIT Web site, http://adr.ccpit.org.

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