Civil Summit (Legal Times)

Monday, Juyl 11, 2005

By: Emma Schwartz

U.S. and Chinese officials may be spending their days feuding over CNOOC’s recent bid for Unocal. But a coterie of U.S. and Chinese attorneys and business leaders are putting their energy into finding a different sort of way to resolve business disputes in China: mediation. This week, about 200 officials, including members from law firms such as Squire Sanders & Dempsey, Baker & McKenzie, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, will gather in Beijing to receive training in mediation, which many hope will become a more common venue for resolving disputes. Chinese officials, culturally averse to losing face in public, are often reluctant to enter into public court battles, and U.S. companies have expressed frustration that they are sometimes unable to recover arbitration awards, says F. Peter Phillips, senior vice president of the U.S.-based co-sponsor of the conference, the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution. “Everyone recognizes that there is going to be a lot of investment between our two countries,” Phillips says. “We must find a way to do business together—and that includes managing our disputes together."

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