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China Alert: Trade with China is Booming

Many people believe this is a good thing for the worldwide economy.

What’s difficult is that the business expectations and practices embedded in Chinese culture may be unknown and slightly mysterious to the uninitiated. Misunderstandings and ignorance of these practices can exacerbate conflict, which can cost big money to the international business community. Many of your readers may be looking for solutions.

F. Peter Phillips is Senior Vice President for The International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR Institute), as well as a hands-on expert on resolving crossborder business disputes. He was primarily responsible for negotiating the terms of the U.S.-China Business Mediation Center with headquarters in New York and Beijing.

If you are currently researching any stories on business with China – the complexities, room for misunderstandings, and proven solutions to conflict – Peter is available for interviews or to author an article.

Issues Peter can address include:
• Differences in resolving disputes in China and America, and how to sidestep the landmines. For example the United States has institutionalized the use of mediation through such organizations as CPR Institute. In China, there is no tradition of commercial mediation. Rather the conciliation process is part of a formal arbitration or law suit conducted by the arbitrator or judge.
• Distinctions in cultural and business environments. For instance it is a basic principle of American negotiation that you never negotiate with someone who can’t close the deal. Not so in China. There is no strong tradition in China of personal authority, and the western negotiator should not be offended when told, “I will consult and return to you with our response.”
• The disparity between American negotiation and Chinese conciliation. Unlike the United States, the Chinese tradition is not to persuade the parties to compromise, or find the middle ground; it is to persuade the parties to stop fighting, and to revert to the balance and respect that the community expects of them.