Shanghai FTZ tribunal opens to boost trade

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, November 6, 2013
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A tribunal for the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone was established on Tuesday to provide judicial services to investors in the zone.

The tribunal will accept civil and commercial cases in the areas of investment, trade, finance, intellectual property and real estate, and will ensure that cases are heard fairly and efficiently.

"The tribunal was founded to promote investment and maintain transaction security in the FTZ," said Guo Jian, president of the Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Court, which established the tribunal.

The tribunal will focus on resolving disputes, coordinating conflicts of interest and supporting innovation, said Sheng Yongqiang, Shanghai High People's Court vice-president.

"It will promote the establishment of a cross-border investment system with trade rules that conform to international practices and cultivate a law-ruling business environment," he said.

Wang Xinling, deputy director of the management committee of the free trade zone, supported the move.

"The FTZ has made major reforms in administrative functions and economic operations. The tribunal will provide valuable experience for judicial departments around the country because the FTZ is designed to be duplicated by other regions," he said.

Since the FTZ was unveiled in Pudong on Sept 29, 281 enterprises, including 23 overseas-funded companies, have registered in the zone, and the registered capital of the enterprises is 4.6 billion yuan ($754 million), the State Administration for Industry and Commerce said.

The rise in the number of enterprises in the FTZ and the surge of foreign investment and trade volume will inevitably trigger commercial disputes, Guo said.

"Moreover, the new business models and rules in the FTZ will surely bring new legal issues, and unique cases that we've never coped with before will emerge," he said. "The Pudong court will summarize its experience in cases of air logistics, factoring business, swaps and overseas financial management to ensure the fairness of the new cases."

A team of veteran judges proficient in domestic and international laws, international trade rules and practices, and who are fluent in foreign languages will be assigned to the tribunal, Guo said.

More convenient and efficient services of litigation will be available, Guo said. With an online system of litigation and remote access to an electronic service platform to file lawsuits, the parties involved in a case will get all-round litigation services.

The tribunal will also promote judicial publicity in the FTZ by publishing judicial policies and typical cases, holding more court hearings for live broadcast and posting the verdicts online.

Some legal experts said arbitration could also be introduced in the FTZ to settle commercial disputes as Shanghai has two arbitral institutions — the Shanghai International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission and the Shanghai Arbitration Commission — that are renowned and influential both at home and abroad.

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