China to establish HK arbitration center with African panel

China’s ambassador to the United Nations has signed an agreement to establish a regional arbitration center in Hong Kong with the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO), promoting international commercial arbitration in the area.

China’s Permanent Representative to the UN Zhang Jun, and Kennedy Gastorn, secretary-general of the AALCO and permanent representative of Tanzania to the UN, signed the agreement in New York on Nov 10.

The center will cooperate with existing arbitration institutions in the region and assist in the enforcement of arbitral awards.

“With the development of China and the implementation of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ policy, Hong Kong has shown its bright future in development,” Zhang said.

“The decision by China and AALCO to establish a regional arbitration center in Hong Kong is of great significance. It will help expand the influence of AALCO, enhance regional cooperation, build Hong Kong into a center for international legal and dispute resolution in the Asia-Pacific region, and promote the HKSAR’s development. China is fully confident of the center’s promising prospects,” he said.

Gastorn said that the signing of the agreement is “a milestone in the history of AALCO and another fine example of AALCO-China cooperation”. He said that the establishment of the center “will inject new impetus into the development of AALCO and strongly support AALCO’s greater role in promoting regional trade, international investment and dispute settlement”.

AALCO looks forward to further communication and cooperation with China in that regard, Gastorn said.

AALCO is an intergovernmental, international organization established in 1956 in accordance with the spirit of Bandung Conference. It aims to promote exchanges and consultation among Asian and African countries on international law issues and reflect their own demands in the development of international law.

With 47 member states and two permanent observer states, AALCO is the only platform for international law cooperation across Asian and Africa, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said while attending the opening ceremony of the 59th annual AALCO, via video link Monday.

AALCO also has set up regional arbitration centers in Cairo, Kuala Lumpur, Lagos, Teheran and Nairobi.