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Arbitrators to start their training

CAMBODIAN businesses will have an alternative to settling disputes in law courts when the National Arbitration Center (NAC) opens at the end of this year, Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh said Tuesday.

Speaking to 54 potential arbitrators, who are set to begin training on Friday, he said the NAC would be an improvement on existing options available for domestic businesses.

“The advantage of arbitration for companies is that it is quicker, more flexible, and also firms can choose their own individual arbitrator,” he said.

Experts from the International Financial Corporation (IFC) say the NAC is an important development.

IFC resident representative Julia Brickell said a World Bank report showed it took on average in excess of 400 days to navigate the Kingdom’s commercial courts.

“The establishment of the NAC will be critical to building a strong business environment in Cambodia,” she said Tuesday.

The IFC is assisting technical aspects of the NAC programme, with 80 percent of the funding provided by the European Union.

Success for the centre depends on the credibility and integrity of its arbitrators, Cham Prasidh said.

“I do not set a quota for the number of graduates, but I set a performance standard. Students must score at least a B+ to graduate.”

Two training programmes are scheduled for students, including lessons on arbitration from Singaporean experts, and a commercial law course.

Around US$500,000 has been earmarked by the Ministry of Commerce for the NAC building, MoC Secretary of State Mao Thora said, but the location has yet to be determined.

Garment Manufacturing Association in Cambodia chairman Van Sou Ieng welcomed the NAC on the event’s sidelines, but said it was important to permit foreigners to qualify as arbitrators.

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