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National Arbitration Center launched

After years of preparation, the National Arbitration Center (NAC), a body that works to resolve commercial disputes more efficiently, was offic-ially launched yesterday. Relevant stakeholders said the centre would boost investor confidence and business activity in the Kingdom.

“We are turning a new page of history as we inaugurate an institution to implement major commercial laws in the Kingdom of Cambodia,” NAC chairman Ros Monin said at the launch ceremony.

“It is obvious that any business, anywhere in the world, will inevitably face at some point a commercial dispute that requires a clear, effective, trustworthy mechanism for resolution.”

Since the law on commercial arbitration was adopted in 2006, another sub-decree on the organisation and functioning of a national commercial arbitration centre was promulgated in August, 2009.

A year later, preparations to establish the resolution body began, and now all key elements needed to run the centre have been put in place.  

The NAC consists of a seven-member executive board, 43 arbitrators and 11 representatives from the private sector.  

“The NAC’s goal is to offer the business community an alternative to the courts for the resolution of disputes, solving them more quickly, inexpensively and fairly,” Bun Youdy, one of seven members of the executive board, told the Post yesterday.

Many stakeholders have praised the establishment of the NAC, saying such a forum to settle disputes is important to give businesses greater confidence.

Wendy Werner, of the IFC investment climate advisory service in east Asia and the Pacific, said at the ceremony the launch of Cambodia’s first commercial arbitration body was a significant milestone in improving the country’s investment environment.

“Effective, efficient dispute resolution is an important part of efforts to build a better climate for Cambodia to attract investment,” Werner said.

“The existence of a high-quality commercial arbitration system will help improve Cambodia’s standing among investors looking for opportunities in this fast-growing region of east Asia-Pacific.”

Van Sou Ieng, chairman of the Cambodia Federation and Business Association, a representative of the private sector, said the establishment of the NAC would be extremely important for local and international businesses that operated in the Kingdom.

“From now on, when problems arise, businesses have a place to go,” Ieng told the Post yesterday.

 “The NAC is in existence now. [If there is] a commercial dispute, go to the NAC first, as it’s much more effective.”

Speaking at the launch, Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh said it could not be predicted how many parties would submit their disputes to the centre in its first years of operation.

But he said it seemed reasonable         to expect that in the beginning, mainly domestic parties would come to the NAC.

Arbitration Council Foundation executive director Sok Lor told the Post it would probably take time for people to gain confidence in a new arbitration system.

“If we can show we’ve been successful  in solving disputes for early comers, we will be more recognised,” he said.

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