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ICC Guidance on Mediation of Belt and Road Disputes

There is no “one size fits all” approach to Belt and Road disputes. However, in most cases, mediation is a highly effective tool. This note explains how the ICC International Centre for ADR’s experience and expertise can help ensure that proceedings progress efficiently, transparently, fairly and are respectful of the parties’ wishes.

Belt and Road transactions come in all shapes and sizes. China’s flagship initiative will continue to generate everything from simple, one-off facility arrangements to large-scale, long-term infrastructure projects with highly complex financing requirements. The number of parties will vary, as will their respective levels of sophistication. However, the vast majority of Belt and Road transactions (and disputes) will be cross-border. Typically, they will involve at least one Chinese, and one non-Chinese party.

In cross-border, cross-cultural situations like these, it is essential to resolve disputes using a method that is not only appropriate to the nature of the dispute, but also acceptable to all the disputing parties. While Western parties often resort to adjudicative – but contentious – methods (arbitration or litigation), Chinese parties frequently prefer a less adversarial approach.

There is no “one size fits all” approach to Belt and Road disputes. However, in most cases, mediation is a highly effective tool.

Although a stand-alone procedure, mediation can be combined with other dispute resolution procedures as part of a tiered dispute resolution process. Increasingly, mediation is considered as a useful – and even an indispensable – first step in situations where parties are keen on reaching a solution that upholds their mutual business or contractual interests. It can also be used once arbitration has commenced if parties wish to seek a settlement.

ICC has provided conciliation services since 1922 and mediation services since 2001. The ICC International Centre for ADR’s experience and expertise ensures that proceedings progress efficiently, transparently, fairly and are respectful of the parties’ wishes.