(Yicai Global) Jan. 25 -- China aims to bring in a new dispute resolution system for its Belt and Road Initiative as the country's firms look to ratchet up overseas investment, an anonymous source told Yicai Global.
The Supreme People's Court will set up three international commercial courts to deal with litigation, mediation and arbitration, the source said. One in the central city of Xi'an, the departure point of the ancient Silk Road, will focus on serving the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt, while one in the southern city of Shenzhen will cover the Maritime Silk Road. The third will serve as a headquarters in Beijing.
Chinese President Xi Jinping chaired the second meeting of the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms on Jan. 23. The group approved documents that outlined China's opinions on dispute resolution mechanisms for Belt and Road, a multibillion-dollar economic development project that embraces more than 70 states so far.
"Chinese companies will face growing international political risks and resistance as they increase investment abroad," said Liang Guoyong, economic affairs officer at the Investment and Enterprise Division of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. "But investor-state dispute settlements will become a very favorable mechanism for China."
Often compared with the ancient Silk Road, the One Belt, One Road Initiative was proposed by Xi in 2013. It is a grand 30- to 40-year plan for a vast infrastructure and trade route boasting a major network of railroads, highways, ports and pipelines embracing the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa.
China unveiled its first Belt and Road mediation center on Jan. 7 in Qianhai, Shenzhen, as part of the Shenzhen Qianhai Cooperation Zone People's Court. It provides diversified solutions to international commercial disputes.
The China Council for the Promotion of International Trade is also working with overseas industry and commerce groups to create new international dispute prevention and resolution agencies based on "cooperation and sharing."
The World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes elected nine Chinese experts as mediators and arbitrators last September. Among them was Zhang Yuejiao, who the World Bank's president Jim Yong Kim nominated. He was the first Chinese judge appointed to the appellate body of the World Trade Organization.