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New Court to Handle Foreign Business Disputes
A special team of judges in Beijing has been called in to deal with expected international cases involving transnational disputes, now that China has entered the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The bench, the first of its kind in the capital's local court system, was set up earlier this month by the Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court and is expected to be a model for other local courts around the capital and around the country, said Li Ke, president of the court.

The new bench will handle cases concerning loan contracts, international transport contracts and disputes involving credit letters, international cooperation and trading involving foreigners.

The court's publicity department official Gao Zhihai, said on Monday that the bench is expected to start its operation soon after Spring Festival -- the traditional Chinese Lunar New Year.

The bench will help further regulate the judgment of international cases conforming to WTO rules to ensure a "transparent, just and efficient" judicial environment, said Li.

Yang Xiaoyong, the newly appointed bench chief, said the new bench will stick to the principles of "market accession, transparency and national treatment," which are universally recognized by WTO members, to better protect the legal interests of both domestic and foreign parties.

Still, more needs to be done. "Qualified judges are essential for achieving justice," said Li.

The bench staff have been busy studying past international cases, international laws and WTO regulations since last September to better prepare for their future tasks, the president said.

The court also plans to send some bench members abroad to learn and gain foreign judicial experience in this field.

The number of transnational cases has increased in recent years bringing more experience to the bench, said Yang, although he noted that the bench still urgently needs more professional judges with a good knowledge of international law and WTO rules.

(China Daily February 5, 2002)

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