The China Council for the Promotion of International Trade/China Chamber of International Commerce (or “CIETAC”), a leading arbitral body in China, recently amended its Arbitration Rules.  While some of the amendments and additions are relatively minor, the changes provide for several new options to parties who use CIETAC for arbitration.

First, the new rules aim at streamlines certain situations to avoid multiple arbitrations.  For example, Article 14 now allows for a single arbitration for multiple contracts if certain circumstances are present.  Specifically, if a principal contract governs a relationship, but ancillary contracts exist, disputes arising from more than one contract can be combined in a single arbitration.  Similarly, Article 18 now allows for joinder of additional parties and Article 19 allows for the consolidation of multiple arbitrations into a single arbitration, both provided that certain factors are satisfied.

Second, Article 23 now provides for emergency relief within arbitration to rule on issues that arise before the arbitral tribunal is formed, such as preservation of evidence or property; the ruling must be made within fifteen days of acceptance by the emergency arbitrator.  Third, the revised CIETAC Rule 56 allows for a Summary Procedure if the amount in controversy does not exceed RMB 5 million (or currently approximately $800,000).