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China's Belt and Road initiative (BRI) is transformative - for Asia and beyond.

The numbers are staggering. To date, over US$1tn

has been committed to thousands of BRI projects

around the world. With the continued backing of

the Chinese government and other governments

jumping on board, we expect the BRI to gain further

momentum in 2018, and to present opportunities

for both Chinese and foreign companies investing

in significant infrastructure projects in Asia, the

Middle East, North Africa and Europe. Indeed, some

estimates place cumulative investment in BRI

projects at US$4tn to US$8tn over the longer term.

The impact of the BRI certainly will be felt in the

arbitration sphere. The BRI can be expected to

generate disputes in arbitration over the years

to come. In fact, some BRI projects already are

experiencing difficulties, with delays in the

construction of the Sino-Thai high-speed rail line

and the Colombo port project, and cancellations

of dam construction projects in Kashmir and

Nepal being some of the better known examples.

We expect to see a number of arbitration-related

trends emerging as a result of the BRI.

First, China, as an arbitration seat, and Chinese

arbitration institutions may well become

increasingly prominent as options for resolving

BRI disputes. This is a consequence of the

negotiating power of Chinese parties investing in

BRI projects, and their natural preference for a

China seat. Hong Kong and other Asian seats - most

notably Singapore as a leading seat in the region -

can expect a further uptick in cases. Hong Kong will

be seen as a 'compromise' option where the foreign

party is able to resist a mainland China seat and

the Chinese party is resistant to a non-China seat.

China's International Economic and Trade

Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) has a Hong Kong

office and there is now precedent for CIETAC Hong

Kong awards being enforced in mainland China.

John Choong


T +852 2913 2642


Kim Rosenberg


T +971 4 509 9190

E China's Belt and Road initiative:

opportunities and risks



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