Guide to Regional Arbitration (volume 8 - 2020)

Shanghai International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (SHIAC) – formerly CIETAC sub-commission

Shanghai International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (SHIAC) – formerly CIETAC sub-commission

Professional notice


The Shanghai International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission, also known as the Shanghai International Arbitration Centre (SHIAC), was established in 1988 and is regarded as the pioneering Chinese arbitration institution dealing with international arbitration cases.

Parties from more than 70 countries and regions have participated in SHIAC arbitrations. The arbitral awards of SHIAC have been recognised and enforced under the New York Convention in more than 50 countries and regions.

Latest developments

Since 2013, SHIAC has established the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) Court of Arbitration, the leading practice in the Chinese FTZ area, and the Shanghai International Aviation Court of Arbitration, the world’s first aviation arbitration institution. Until now, more than 320 cases were conducted in the FTZ court. In addition, in the second BRICS Legal Forum and the sixth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, SHIAC established two other platforms: the BRICS Dispute Resolution Shanghai Centre and the China-Africa Joint Arbitration Shanghai Centre.

Rule amendments

In order to keep up with the trends of international commercial arbitration, SHIAC has begun to revise its Arbitration Rules (the Rules) and SHIAC Free Trade Zone Arbitration Rules (the FTZ Rules), at the same time as drafting the new Aviation Arbitration Rules (the Aviation Rules) and Guidelines of Services for Ad Hoc Arbitration (the Guidelines).

The Rules will be updated to include articles on registering and handling investor-state disputes. As to the procedure, the Rules contain provisions on interim measures, consolidation, resuming the arbitration procedure, and perfecting the rules relating to withdrawal of the claim and the case.

The FTZ Rules will be extended to apply to the 10 other FTZs in China, in addition to the Shanghai FTZ. Article 9 of the “Opinions of the SPC on Providing Judicial Protection for the Construction of a Pilot FTZ” provides the possibility for ad hoc arbitration in China, and the Guidelines will provide assistance for ad hoc arbitration. The Guidelines could also be applied to other ad hoc arbitration rules such as the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules and the IATA Arbitration Rules.

It is intended that the Aviation Rules will be applied with the IATA Arbitration Rules. The Aviation Rules create a pre-mediation system for members of aviation associations, providing a panel list of aviation arbitrators and introducing the assistance of an expert committee.

Structure (committee and secretariat)

The SHIAC committee has one chairman, three vice chairs and several members, who include experts, scholars and senior practitioners in the field of law and various industries.

SHIAC provides professional secretarial services. Currently, there are 24 case managers, all of whom graduated from prestigious domestic and foreign universities. The average length of prior work experience is eight years. About 88% of the case managers have graduate degrees, and 50% studied overseas. The arbitration can be administered bilingually.


SHIAC has a panel of arbitrators, which was revised on 1 May 2018. The panel comprises 965 arbitrators, including 604 from mainland China and 361 from Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR, the Taiwan region and foreign countries. The arbitrators come from 74 countries and regions around the world, including 36 countries along the Belt and Road Initiative. There is also a new panel of mediators, including 40 mediators from China and two foreign mediators.

Arbitration services and procedure

In the past two decades, the number of cases administered by SHIAC has steadily increased. The cases relate to, among other things, financial derivatives, M&A, banking, asset management, PPP disputes, financial leasing, shipbuilding, transportation, technology transfer, intellectually property rights, franchise, real estate, construction and energy.

SHIAC’s arbitration fee is based on the amount of the dispute, and the centre adopts a graduated fee system. This means that the procedure becomes more cost-effective as the amount in dispute increases.

7th-8th Floor, Jin Ling Mansion,
28 Jin Ling Road (w),
Shanghai 200021, China
Tel: +86 21 63875588
Fax: +86 21 63877070
[email protected]

Yang Jianrong
Yang Jianrong

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