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Concerns about arbitration centre

THE director of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) has raised concerns about the independence of the country’s first commercial arbitration centre.

Nguon Meng Tech said the chamber would try to establish its own arbitration centre to ensure fairness in the resolution of disputes.

“I am happy [it is being set up], but it is really hard for me to say that the arbitration centre will be independent because it is under the supervision of the public sector, and there will be conflicts of interest,” he said.

“It should be under the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, which is independent because it is an institution for the private sector.”

The chamber was looking for the funds to set up the arbitration centre, he said.

Ministry of Commerce Secretary of State Chan Nora denied that the National Arbitration Centre would be biased, saying it was being established with assistance from development partners and would be comprised of relevant ministries, private-sector representatives and
donors.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will support the centre in its first three years, in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other partners.

Chan Nora declined to give a launch date, saying only that it may be this year. “It is very important for us,” he said.

The proposed centre is to be the first commercial body in Cambodia to rule on disputes between firms, a role that is now performed by the courts or Singapore’s arbitration centre.

Bretton Sciaroni, co-chair of the Government-Private Sector Forum’s working group on law, taxation and governance, said the IFC, ADB and government were working to ensure the centre was of an international standard. ”If business communities have no confidence, nobody will use it,” he said.

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