The China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) has published its 2022 statistics and 2023 Work Plan. In 2022, CIETAC saw continued growth in caseload and in the amount in dispute. The statistics also indicate an enhanced diversity in terms of types of disputes, geographical origins of parties, languages of arbitration, governing laws, and involvement of arbitrators outside of mainland China. CIETAC also continues to explore best practices in international arbitration and innovations, including in relation to emergency arbitrators and third-party funding. Looking forward, CIETAC states that it will continue its efforts in internationalising its arbitration rules, and improving its IT infrastructure and digital management in 2023.
Caseload and amount in dispute
- CIETAC registered 4,086 new arbitration cases in 2022, with the total amount in dispute reaching RMB 126.9 billion yuan (approx. USD 18.64 billion). Both figures are record highs.
- It is the fifth consecutive year that the total amount in dispute in the new cases registered by CIETAC exceeded RMB 100 billion yuan (approx. USD 14.69 billion).
- There were 642 foreign-related cases with a total amount in dispute of RMB 37.4 billion (approx. USD 5.49 billion), accounting for nearly one-third of the total amount in dispute for 2022.
- CIETAC concluded 3,822 cases in 2022, with 3,201 cases still on going.
More international cases
- In 2022, there were 83 cases where neither party was from mainland China (a year-on-year growth of 36%).
- Parties from 69 jurisdictions were involved in CIETAC administrated cases last year. They related to disputes concerning 83 countries and regions, including 32 countries and regions along the “Belt and Road” area.
- Apart from PRC law, a wide range of governing laws were applied to the disputes submitted to CIETAC, including the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG), the laws of Hong Kong, Singapore, and England and Welsh, etc.
- In 115 cases, the parties agreed to use English or both English and Chinese as the language(s) of the arbitration.
- There are 591 arbitrators outside of mainland China on CIETAC’s Panel. In 2022, a total of 87 arbitrators outside of mainland China participated in 83 cases.
Types of disputes
- Cases administered by CIETAC in 2022 covered various types. A wide range of disputes were referred to CIETAC, including, among others, construction, mechanical and electrical equipment, sale and purchase of goods, transfer of equity investment, service contracts, natural resources and financial disputes. The number of natural resources cases increased significantly in 2022.
- Further, CIETAC handled disputes over equity investment, financial securities and construction projects.
- CIETAC issued two emergency arbitrator decisions, which were voluntarily complied with by the parties.
- A CIETAC award that recognised the validity of a third-party funding arrangement was expressly upheld by the PRC court for the first time in a set-aside proceeding that was ultimately overruled by the court.
- CIETAC issued the CIETAC Internal Guidelines for Case Management of arbitration cases to be administered under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules.
Digitalisation of arbitration services
- Information technology was used to further improve efficiency and convenience in arbitration services. In 2022, 1,340 cases were registered online, accounting for nearly one-third of the total cases registered for the year.
- 1,906 hearings were held online, accounting for nearly half of all the hearings for the year, involving parties from 49 jurisdictions.
What to expect
As highlighted in CIETAC’s 2023 Work Plan,
- CIETAC will continue to improve and internationalise its arbitration rules. It is currently considering a further revision of its rules, focusing on topics such as interim awards, re-arbitration, emergency arbitrator procedures, procedures for consolidation of arbitrations, transparency and efficiency in the constitution of arbitral tribunals, interim measures, ad hoc arbitration and third-party funding, etc.
- CIETAC will further improve the mechanism for supervision and assessment of arbitrators, to ensure that all cases are heard in an honest, fair and lawful manner.
- CIETAC also hopes to improve information technology and digital case management, and to further internationalise and modernise its arbitration services.
For more information, please contact Helen Tang, Partner, Weina Ye, Partner, Martin Wallace, Professional Support Consultant, Sophia Li, Associate or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.