Hong Kong promoted as ideal international arbitration centre (with photo)

     The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO), Berlin of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region hosted a luncheon presentation in Berlin on May 18 (Berlin time) promoting Hong Kong as an ideal international arbitration centre.

     In his opening remarks, Director of HKETO, Berlin, Mr Stephen Wong, said, "After the recent financial crisis, there appears to be a shift in the gravity of international trade from West to the East, more specifically from the West to China and Hong Kong. With this rise in cross-border trade an increase in commercial disputes is only to be expected. As Asia's most international city, Hong Kong is uniquely placed to provide commercial dispute resolution services."

     He also shared with the audience the latest results in World Competitiveness Yearbook 2011 released by the International Institute for Management Development, ranking Hong Kong as the world's most competitive economy for the first time.

     Secretary-General of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), Ms Chiann Bao, gave a presentation detailing Hong Kong's advantages as an international arbitration centre for China-foreign commercial disputes. She said, "The unique combination of Hong Kong's attributes, in particular, its excellent geographical location and internationality, as well as Hong Kong people's high standard of English, contribute to the city's success as an irreplaceable economic fort in Asia. Built on a strong foundation of the rule of law and supported by a rich pool of expertise including both local practising and registered foreign lawyers, arbitrators and accountants, Hong Kong is indeed an ideal arbitration centre for China-foreign commercial disputes.

     "The new Arbitration Ordinance (AO), with effect from June 1, 2011, is designed to promote Hong Kong to the international business community as an attractive place to conduct arbitrations. The new AO, largely based on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (the Model Law), will replace the current Arbitration Ordinance by abolishing the old distinction between domestic arbitrations (i.e. arbitrations involving Hong Kong parties) and international arbitrations, and establish a unitary regime based on the Model Law, which will apply to all arbitrations. This approach enables Hong Kong to live up to the best international practices. Therefore, the AO will not only make Hong Kong's arbitration law more user-friendly but also cement Hong Kong's position as a leading arbitration centre in Asia," Ms Bao added.

     Ms Bao also gave an interview to tv. berlin on how the HKIAC would help German-based and other investors to resolve commercial disputes using Hong Kong arbitration services. The luncheon presentation also involved speakers from the German Bar Association, including Board Member of the Association, Dr Astrid Auer-Reinsdorff and Professor Hanns-Christian Salger. Professor Salger is a member of the Bar Association's International Law Section, and he spoke about German arbitration law. About 40 guests from leading German law firms, the business community, academia and federal and state governments attended the luncheon presentation.

Ends/Thursday, May 19, 2011
Issued at HKT 19:28