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Pacific needs voice in international arbitration

Repeka Nasiko
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

THE Pacific needs a voice in international arbitration, says Asian Development Bank general counsel Christopher Stephens.

He made the comment while addressing participants at the opening of the first-ever Regional International Arbitration Conference in Nadi on Monday.

Mr Stephens said the ADB offered assistance to regional countries through the funding of various technical projects.

"One major barrier in attracting greater foreign direct investment and stimulating more cross-border trade is the lack of investor confidence in available effective and efficient ways to resolve commercial disputes between people from different countries," he said.

"In recent decades, international arbitration has become the preferred means of resolving international commercial disputes all over the world.

"However, the South Pacific is one of the few regions in the world without an accessible legal framework to resolve cross-border commercial disputes through international arbitration."

Mr Stephens said only three out of the 14 ADB Pacific developing member countries (DMCs) had an international arbitration legal framework in place.

"The absence of reliable dispute resolutions mechanisms discourages foreign investment, finance and trade.

"To assist our Pacific DMCs to put in place an international arbitration legal framework, ADB launched a technical assistance project at the beginning of 2017."

He said Fiji had benefited from the organisation's technical assistance.

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