On March 12, 2008, the International Chamber of Commerce (the “ICC”) announced that in recognition of the growing importance of the Asia Pacific region to ICC Dispute Resolution Services, a branch of the Secretariat of the ICC International Court of Arbitration would be established in Hong Kong to administer ICC cases in the region. This is the first branch of the Court’s Secretariat to have been established outside of the ICC headquarters in Paris. The ICC International Court of Arbitration is one of the leading bodies in international commercial arbitration.

The Secretariat of the Court in Hong Kong will be implemented during the last quarter of 2008 and will encompass a case management team to administer ICC cases in the Asia Pacific Region under the ICC Rules of Arbitration.

The ICC also announced that the Director of ICC Arbitration and Amicable Dispute Resolution Asia would be based in Singapore where a liaison office dedicated to ICC Dispute Resolution Services will be established.

This latest development recognizes the importance of both Hong Kong and Singapore as centres for international dispute resolution.

The Secretary for Justice of the Hong Kong SAR Government has welcomed the ICC’s announcement and welcomed the endorsement of Hong Kong’s position as a premier centre for international arbitration services.