On 7-18 July 2014, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (“UNCITRAL”) held its 47th Session in New York, the U.S. Delegations of nearly 60 member States of UNCITRAL and other major international organizations gathered at this session. As the special representative of the Asia Pacific Region Arbitration Group (“APRAG”) under the leadership of its President Jianlong YU, Audry Hong LI, partner at Zhong Lun Law Firm and also a member in the CIETAC Panel of Arbitrators, attended this session.
As a key topic, the UNCITRAL finalized and approved the draft convention on transparency in treaty-based investor-state arbitration (“Convention on Transparency”). The purpose of the Convention on Transparency is to provide a mechanism for applying the UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (“Transparency Rules”) to arbitrations conducted under investment treaties concluded prior to 1 April 2014. The Transparency Rules, adopted by the UNCITRAL in 2013, provide a procedural framework for making information available to the public on investment arbitration cases arising under relevant investment treaties concluded after 1 April 2014. Following the approval of the draft at this session of the UNCITRAL, the Convention on Transparency will be submitted to the United Nations General Assembly for final consideration and adoption at its 69th Session which is expected to take place later in 2014.
In the field of arbitration, the UNCITRAL also heard an oral report from the UNCITRAL Secretariat on the establishment and functioning of the transparency repository. The UNCITRAL Secretariat performs the role of the transparency repository. Meanwhile, the UNCITRAL reviewed the latest draft of the guide on the 1958 New York Convention and further considered the progress on the guide and how it would be published.
With regard to international commercial conciliation, in this session, the Government of the United States of America submitted a proposal that Working Group II (arbitration and conciliation) of the UNCITRAL develop a multilateral convention on the enforceability of international commercial settlement agreements reached through conciliation with the goal of encouraging conciliation. The U.S. also proposed Working Group II address issues including the scope of the proposed convention, certain limited exceptions and structural limitations on enforcement, etc.
Other issues considered by the UNCITRAL during this 47th Session include: progress reports of the UNCITRAL working groups; technical assistance to law reform; promotion of ways and means of ensuring a uniform interpretation and application of UNCITRAL legal texts; status and promotion of UNCITRAL legal texts; coordination and cooperation; UNCITRAL regional presence; role of the UNCITRAL in promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels; etc.