New S’pore-China legal team to focus on commercial dispute resolution

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SINGAPORE — Some of Singapore’s legal heavyweights are members of a new team tasked with seeking to develop a mechanism to handle disputes between companies here and in China.

Among them, Adrian Tan, president of the Law Society of Singapore, and Cavinder Bull, managing director of Drew & Napier.

The team, comprising six legal experts from Singapore and China, was unveiled at the Singapore-China International Conference on Commercial Dispute Resolution on Thursday (7 April).

It will conduct research and make recommendations on the establishment of a joint dispute resolution mechanism, in addition to proposing a set of rules and procedures to meet the needs of businesses in both countries.

The team members have yet to meet and their plans are still ongoing.

Thursday’s event, held jointly in Singapore and China and streamed online, was the second edition of the conference. It was previously held in Beijing, China in 2019.

The event included speeches and discussions by participants from the government, legal and business sectors of both countries. Topics included the latest developments in trade dispute resolution.

A memorandum of cooperation to hold an annual joint conference on settling international trade disputes was signed between the Singapore Ministry of Justice (MinLaw) and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) during the conference.

Speaking at the event, Second Minister of Law Edwin Tong noted that dispute resolution exists to help businesses resolve disputes as efficiently as possible.

More companies will therefore be encouraged to operate from Singapore and China, to work on the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as to have their disputes resolved in a fair, transparent and efficient manner.

He also suggested two ways to deepen legal and trade cooperation between the countries.

The first was to consider developing a common set of business rules to be used by businesses in Singapore, China and even other countries.

“A common set of rules will reduce misunderstandings and uncertainty due to differences, and ultimately… help avoid conflict from the start,” Tong said.

The second was to strengthen people-to-people exchanges between the countries, for example through secondment and exchange programs, which will help law firms and companies in both countries to better understand the working environment and culture. of each as well as the commercial context.

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