The China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) is one of the major permanent arbitration institutions in the world.
Formerly known as the Foreign Trade Arbitration Commission, CIETAC was set up in April 1956 under the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) in accordance with the Decision Concerning the Establishment of A Foreign Trade Arbitration Commission Within the China Council For the Promotion of International Trade adopted on May 6, 1954 at the 215th session of the Government Administration Council. To meet the needs of China’s ever-developing economic and trade relations with foreign countries after the adoption of the "reform and opening-up" policy, the Foreign Trade arbitration was first renamed as Foreign Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission in 1980 pursuant to the State Council’s Notice Concerning the Conversion of the Foreign Trade Arbitration Commission Into the Foreign Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission, and then as the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission in 1988 pursuant to the State Council’s Official Reply Concerning the Renaming of the Arbitration Commission as the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission and Amendment of Its Arbitration Rules. Since 2000, CIETAC is also known as the Arbitration Court of the China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC).
CIETAC independently and impartially resolves economic and trade disputes by means of arbitration.
With its headquarters in Beijing, CIETAC also has sub-commissions in Shenzhen, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing, respectively known as the CIETAC South China Sub-Commission, Shanghai Sub-Commission, Tianjin International Economic Financial Arbitration Center (Tianjin Sub-Commission) and Southwest Sub-Commission.
To support the construction of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, in November 1982 CCPIT replied to the People’s Government of Guangdong Province and the Shenzhen Municipal Government and approved the set-up of CIETAC Shenzhen Office following approval by the State Council of an application jointly submitted by CCPIT and other relating departments of the Central Government. In February 1984, the CCPIT Foreign Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission Shenzhen Office was officially set up. The aim of the office is "to conciliate foreign-related economic and trade disputes in the special zone and to take cognizance of arbitration application for the Foreign Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission. With the approval of the Arbitration Commission the arbitral tribunal could conduct proceedings in Shenzhen, and provide arbitration and legal consultancy services". The office is under the direct leadership of CCPIT in respect of its arbitration business and it is under the leadership of the Shenzhen Municipal Government in terms of personnel and administrative affairs. The Shenzhen Office was renamed the Shenzhen Sub-Commission in 1989 and the South China Sub-Commission in 2004 upon proper approval.
To accommodate the needs of Shanghai’s Opening-up, CIETAC Shanghai Sub-Commission was approved by the CCPIT to be set up in Shanghai in August 1988 following the approval of the State Council. In December 1988, the General Office of Shanghai Municipal Government released a notice approving the set-up of CIETAC Shanghai Sub-commission according to the decision of CCPIT. The Shanghai Sub-Commission is under the direct leadership of CIETAC in its business and is administratively attached to the CCPIT Shanghai Sub-Council.
To support the development of Tianjin Binhai New Area, upon the approval of CCPIT and the consent of Tianjin Municipal Government, CIETAC established Tianjin International Economic Financial Arbitration Center (Tianjin Sub-Commission) in May 2008.
To match up with the strategic plan of Chongqing’s construction and the development of its inland open economy, upon the approval of CCPIT and the consent of Chongqing Municipal Government, CIETAC established Chongqing Sub-Commission in March 2009.
CIETAC and its sub-commissions constitute a single arbitration institution. They adopt the same set of Arbitration Rules and the same Panel of Arbitrators. That sub-commissions are branches of CIETAC was explicitly stipulated in CIETAC’s Articles of Association of 1993, and has remained so ever since.
In order to meet the needs of the development of its arbitration practices, CIETAC also successively established 26 liaison offices in different regions and specific business sectors to provide parties with convenient arbitration advice. To meet the special demands of the parties, CIETAC took the initiative to introduce into its arbitration practice dispute resolution services in specific business sectors, such as grain, commerce, construction, finance, leather and wool transactions. Moreover, CIETAC provides domain name dispute resolution service to the parties and is strongly engaged in research on the online resolution of E-commerce disputes. In order to meet the needs of resolving disputes related to E-commerce and other economic and trade issues quickly, CIETAC has provided the Online Arbitration Rules since May 1, 2009. Other than the "General Procedure", depending on the size of the amount contested, the case may also be conducted according to the "Summary Procedure" or the "Expedited Procedure" of the Online Arbitration Rules, thus meeting the need of parties to resolve economic disputes quickly online.
Throughout the past 50 years, CIETAC has made prominent contributions to the legislation of the Chinese Arbitration Law and the development of the arbitration practice in China, has maintained positive relations and cooperation with all the major arbitration institutions across the world and gained the reputation at home and abroad as an independent, impartial and efficient arbitration institution. In accordance with the New York Convention, CIETAC awards are recognized and enforced in more than 140 countries. CIETAC’s nearly 20,000 concluded arbitration cases have involved parties from more than 70 countries and regions outside the Chinese mainland, and its awards have been recognized and enforced in more than 60 countries and regions. Since 1990, CIETAC’s caseload has been one of the heaviest among the world’s major arbitration institutions. In recent years, on average, CIETAC handled as many as 1,300 cases annually, involving parties from more than 50 countries and regions outside the Chinese mainland.
● The main business functions of CIETAC include:
1.Accepting international, foreign-related and domestic cases involving natural persons, legal persons, and other organizations that are treated as equal subjects under the law;
2.Offering other dispute resolutions services in accordance with the agreement of the parties;
3.Accepting cases on the authorization of governments, international organizations and other institutions at home and abroad;
4.Providing services on demand, such as appointing arbitrators for institutional or non-institutional arbitration in accordance with the agreement and request of the parties;
5.Providing to the legislature for its reference legal opinions and advice on relevant legislation and amendments to the law;
6.Making researches in and promoting commercial arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution;
7.Fostering domestic and international exchange and cooperation in arbitration and participating arbitration activities at home and abroad;
● Highlights of CIETAC’s arbitration services.
Broad jurisdiction and internationalized procedures
CIETAC accepts foreign-related and international cases, as well as domestic ones. Its scope of accepting cases is not limited by the nature of the parties’ business or their nationalities. The domestic cases filed with CIETAC are typically multi--industry, trans-regional and interdisciplinary, with a trend towards an increase in those related to the new economy. CIETAC is gradually developing into one of the major arbitration institutions in the world dealing with complicated, large-claim, or foreign-related disputes.
Independence and impartiality
CIETAC is independent of the administrative organs, and free from any administrative interference in handling cases. All parties have equal opportunities to present their cases during the arbitral proceedings.
It generally takes between one and three days to conduct an oral hearing and most CIETAC arbitrations can be concluded within six months after the formation of the arbitral tribunal. The time typically taken by CIETAC to render an award in international and foreign-related cases is significantly shorter than that of other international arbitration institutions.
As an international arbitration institution, CIETAC’s arbitration fees for international and foreign-related cases are relatively low. Its arbitration fees for domestic cases are at the same level as those of other arbitration institutions in China. Because of its finality and efficiency, arbitration is also more economical than litigation. Over 90% of CIETAC’s arbitral awards are promptly honored by the parties. Fewer than one in a thousand of CIETAC’s awards have been annulled or their enforcement rejected. Thus the parties save both time and money.
Combination of arbitration with conciliation
A salient feature of CIETAC arbitration is the combination of arbitration with conciliation, a practice which is internationally known as the "Oriental Model". It not only encourages dispute resolution but also helps to maintain friendship and cooperation between the parties. It’s an example that more and more foreign arbitration institutions are following.
Sector-specific dispute resolution services
Expert adjudication is a major advantage of arbitration. To best use this advantage, CIETAC was the first institution in China to provide tailor-made dispute resolution services for parties in different trades. CIETAC has set up special committees on construction, finance, grain, leather, and commerce, and it offers tailor-made services for dispute resolution in specific trades to satisfy the particular needs. At the same time, CIETAC also engages in actively in developing alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in addition to arbitration.
In 2000, CIETAC Domain Name Dispute Resolution Center was established to provide dispute resolution services with regard to .com, .org, .net, .cn and other top-level domain names. In 2009, CIETAC’s Online Arbitration Rules came into effect to facilitate the resolution of online disputes such as e-commerce disputes. In 2010, CIETAC formulated its Construction Dispute Review Rules to provide efficient expert services for a quick fix of construction disputes. In 2011, CIETAC established its Investment Dispute Resolution Center to accept investment dispute cases between private investors and the host state government where they have agreed on CIETAC arbitration.
With its emphasis on commercial arbitration, CIETAC has fostered a diversified, dynamic and interdependent service system for multiple dispute resolution.
Professional administration of arbitration proceedings
Since its establishment over 50 years ago, CIETAC has accumulated a wealth of experience in case administration and has developed unique, rigorous and efficient administrative procedures. In addition, CIETAC’s professional case managers guarantee its high quality service.
Arbitration cannot be better than its arbitrators
CIETAC maintains a Panel of Arbitrators composed of nearly 1,000 professionals, all of whom are renowned experts in arbitration or in a particular trade either at home or abroad. Among them, there are nearly 300 arbitrators coming from more than 30 foreign jurisdictions. With both profound professional knowledge and a high standard of professional ethics, these CIETAC arbitrators along with more than 90 well-trained case managers at the CIETAC’s secretariats, are able to offer high-quality, efficient arbitration services.
CIETAC has earned a good reputation for its independence, impartiality and efficiency, and the quality of its awards has won wide acclaim from Chinese as well as foreign parties.
Pioneering spirit and ceaseless development
CIETAC’s unique 50-plus years of arbitration practice, renowned as the "Oriental Model", is considered a great contribution and enrichment of the theory and practice of international commercial arbitration. Experts from CIETAC have taken an active part in the drafting and amendment of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Conciliation and the UN Convention on International Sale of Goods. As the earliest and largest arbitration institution in China, CIETAC has made tremendous contributions to the legislation and development of China’s arbitration law, and plays a leading role among Chinese arbitration institutions in the practice and theoretical research on arbitration. Several CIETAC publications have been widely recognized and used in the domestic and international arbitration circles.
In line with the latest development in international commercial arbitration, CIETAC’s Arbitration Rules fully respect the principle of party autonomy within the framework of China’s Arbitration Law. CIETAC’s extensive publication list of legal books and periodicals, such as Compilation of Arbitral Awards, Selection of Arbitral Awards, Arbitration and Law, and Arbitration and Jurisdiction, demonstrates its role as a leading and pioneering flag-bearer in the theory and practice of arbitration.
As an international arbitration institution, CIETAC endeavors to promote international communication. Over the decades, CIETAC has engaged in friendly cooperation with major international organizations, leading arbitration institutions and other institutions, maintaining its voice and its capacity in guiding the theoretical development in international arbitration. CIETAC has also earned a good reputation and recognition in the international arbitration circles through the activities and conferences it has taken part in, hosted or sponsored. In its endeavor to promote arbitration globally and especially in the Asia-Pacific region, CIETAC has formed partnerships, based on cooperation agreements, with arbitration institutions from more than 40 countries and regions. Each year, CIETAC receives numerous visits by foreign governments, arbitration institutions and other dispute resolution organizations, law firms, universities and colleges for exchanges and discussions.
In response to the development and growth of international trade and in order to satisfy the ever-increasing demands of social economy and the needs of various parties, CIETAC will remain pragmatic, innovative and pioneering. It will continue taking the initiatives to increase the diversification and quality in its services and to promote efficiency and credibility in its operations. CIETAC’s goal is to become a major international commercial dispute resolution center that meets international standards and norms, and to provide parties with impartial, independent, professional and efficient multiple dispute resolution services.