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            december 08, 2019

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S'pore seeks mediation role in new era as trade war spawns disputes


Singapore appears to be looking to build on its reputation as a top arbitration destination in Asia as it prepares to sign the Singapore Convention on Mediation which comes under the auspices of the United Nations, reports Bloomberg.
Others have noted that as Hong Kong's rule of law has been undermined by Beijing, which is accelerating its integration with mainland practices, Singapore has become a leading place of mediation.
More than 10 countries are expected to sign at a ceremony in Singapore on August 7, after which they'll ratify it in their national parliaments, Law Minister K Shanmugam said in an interview this week.
"Dispute resolution is critical for anybody who is investing cross border," Mr Shanmugam said. "The dispute between US and China is bad for overall business, but in the short term, that may result in more people having to resort to dispute resolution."
The Trump administration's tariff threats - which have caught Europe, Japan and India, among others, in its crosshairs - is contributing to a slowdown in global growth, potentially hurting trade-reliant Singapore.
"I expect a lot of people in Asia to choose Singapore as a place where they automatically will come and mediate," Mr Shanmugam said. "Our courts have a very strong reputation, our judicial system, our rule of law, all of this are well known."
Mediation, where there's a neutral party sitting down with both sides to figure out a solution, can be an alternative to litigation or arbitration, if companies aren't able to carry on with their investments or continue with businesses due to the tariff situation, he said.

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