(Maritime Arbitration Salon)

On the afternoon of February 26, 2019, the Maritime Arbitration Salon –“The experience of Chinese parties in London maritime arbitration and court proceedings – as update” was successfully held at the China Maritime Arbitration Commission (hereinafter referred to as “CMAC”) in Beijing. More than 50 representatives from shipping companies, universities, law firms, insurance companies and other related units attended the event.

(Welcome Speech by Dr. Chen Bo, Deputy Secretary-General of CMAC)

The welcoming ceremony was hosted by Qi Ji, Deputy Director of Business Development Department of CMAC. Dr. Chen Bo, Deputy Secretary-General of CMAC and Vice President of the CMAC Arbitration Court, pointed out in her speech that with the promotion of the “Belt and Road” Initiative, China has become a major shipping state, but in terms of legal risks, China’s shipping industry still faces serious challenges. Risk prevention and dispute resolution in a proper way are significant topics for the development of China’s shipping industry. As the only national maritime arbitration institution in China, CMAC has administered a large number of domestic and foreign-related maritime dispute cases. In the future, CMAC will continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the international arbitration community and provide a communication platform for enterprises and lawyers.

(Dr. Li Hu, Deputy Director, presided over the salon)

Dr. Li Hu, Deputy Director of CMAC, Secretary of the Party Committee and Deputy Secretary-General of CIETAC, presided over the lectures. He said that as Chinese companies become more integrated into the world economy, international cases with Chinese parties involved will continue to increase. Under this new situation, Chinese enterprises should continue to improve expertise of international arbitration laws, rules and practices, and actively respond to the challenges. Domestic arbitration institutions should strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the international arbitration community and continuously enhance internationalization.

(Lecture Given by President Ian Gaunt)

President Ian Gaunt, CMAC arbitrator and the President of London Maritime Arbitrators Association (hereinafter referred to as LMAA), gave a speech on “The experience of Chinese parties in London maritime arbitration and court proceedings – as update”. Combining with relevant cases where the Chinese shipyard’s conducted maritime arbitration and litigation in London, he introduced the procedures and substantive issues of English maritime arbitration and litigation, and proposed helpful suggestions on how Chinese shipyards should respond to cultural and legal differences in international arbitration and improving the ability of contract risk prevention. In particular, he suggested that Chinese shipyards should hire professional lawyers to act on their behalf when signing contracts, completely perform contractual obligations, select appropriate arbitrators in time after the commencement of the arbitration procedure, and prepare the strategies of defense and cross-examination. When negotiating the terms of shipbuilding contracts, it is important for Chinese parties to strive for a more flexible completion timetable, pay attention to the responsibility distribution, quality control and other provisions.

In the comment session, Mr. Song Dihuang, Partner of Wang Jing & Co. law firm, introduced the document service system and practice under LMAA Terms, and compared differences of the service procedures between litigation and arbitration in China.

(Remark by Mr. Song Dihuang, CMAC arbitrator)

(Remark by Mr. Fu Xiaoqiang, CMAC arbitrator)

Mr. Fu Xiaoqiang shared his experience and thoughts on the implications of London maritime arbitration for China arbitration, the issues that Chinese companies need to pay attention to in London maritime arbitration, the evaluation of London maritime arbitration, and the attitude of Chinese courts to foreign arbitration combining with his work experience in court and enterprise. He pointed out particularly that Chinese enterprises should have full preparation in risk prevention beforehand, actively take measures to deal with disputes, and conduct a comprehensive analysis and review of the reasons for losing cases.

(Remark by Mrs. Xie Changqing, Deputy Secretary-General of CMAC)

Finally, Mrs. Xie Changqing, Deputy Secretary-General of CMAC commented on the characteristics of the LMAA Terms and the differences between CMAC and LMAA Terms and practices. She stated that LMAA has long focused on the resolution of maritime disputes in the maritime industry. The characteristics of its rules and practical experience are worthy of research and reference by the international commercial arbitration community. CMAC arbitration rules have its own advantages in aspects of institutional arbitration, fast and efficient procedure, and low-cost hearings, providing a Chinese mechanism for the resolution of international maritime and admiralty disputes. Under the background of global economic integration, Chinese parties need to know well international rules as early as possible, actively respond to international arbitration, pay attention to the negotiation and conclusion of arbitration clauses, strive to increase more procedural arrangements that are beneficial to their side, and pre-consider and control the risks of the dispute resolution.

(Q&A Session)

After the comment session, the attendees raised questions and exchanges ideas with President Ian Gaunt.

Through this lecture, CMAC hopes to help the legal and commerce practitioners to understand more about international arbitration rules and practices and prevent legal risks in contract drafting and performance, so as to better help Chinese shipping companies develop and trade abroad.