On October 12, 2018, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre ("SIAC") signed a memorandum of understanding ("MOU") in Beijing with the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission ("CIETAC").

The signing of the MOU signifies the institutions' efforts in promoting international arbitration as a preferred method of dispute resolution in China and Singapore. To this end, SIAC also signed similar MOUs with the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration and the Xi'an Arbitration Commission on August 24, 2018, and September 7, 2018, respectively. The MOUs that SIAC signed with Chinese institutions in recent months demonstrate a trend of promoting SIAC's expertise in international arbitration in China.

Quick Takeaways

The MOU could be a significant step in making possible the consolidation of arbitral proceedings subject to SIAC's arbitration rules with arbitral proceedings subject to CIETAC's arbitration rules (and vice versa). The MOU, which seeks to promote international arbitration as a preferred method of dispute resolution in China and Singapore, may also influence more companies to choose either SIAC or CIETAC as the institution administering their disputes in China or Singapore.

Key Features of the MOU with CIETAC

Under the MOU, SIAC and CIETAC will set up a joint working group to discuss SIAC's proposed "Cross-Institution Consolidation Protocol." This protocol, if adopted and incorporated into SIAC's and CIETAC's arbitration rules, provides a mechanism for arbitral proceedings that are subject to SIAC's arbitration rules to be consolidated with arbitral proceedings that are subject to CIETAC's arbitration rules, and vice versa. Through institutional cooperation, the protocol is designed to facilitate the efficient resolution of international commercial disputes, which will lead to significant gains for parties.

Under the MOU, SIAC and CIETAC will also work together to jointly promote international arbitration to serve the needs of businesses. SIAC and CIETAC will hold an annual joint signature event on international arbitration in either China or Singapore. In addition, the institutions will co-organize conferences, seminars, and workshops on international arbitration in China and Singapore. Both institutions will, upon request and where appropriate, provide recommendations of arbitrators to each other and will, upon request, conduct training programs for each other's staff. CIETAC will also extend the use of its hearing facilities at preferential rates for SIAC arbitrations that are held in China.