Opening the Red Door to Chinese Arbitrations: An Empirical Analysis of CIETAC Cases (1990-2000)

35 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2017

See all articles by Pat K. Chew

Pat K. Chew

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law

Date Written: November 1, 2017


This article reveals evidence-based details of the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) arbitral proceedings (1990-2000), allowing unprecedented insights into Chinese international business arbitration. It begins by confirming the prominence of Chinese foreign trade and foreign investment in the global economy and CIETAC’s critical role in securing that prominence. Among other results, the empirical study of CIETAC awards finds: (i) the parties were of diverse nationalities, most commonly with disputes between a Chinese party and a foreign party; and (ii) the majority of cases were sales and trade disputes, although a sizeable number were investment/joint venture disputes. Regarding the arbitrators’ decisions, (iii) claimants received either a full win or full loss 30% of the time, with arbitrators much more likely to grant a compromise award; and (vi) Chinese claimants were significantly better off than foreign claimants. A subsequent study further explores the effect of the parties’ nationality on award outcomes.

Keywords: International Arbitration, Foreign Investment in China, Chinese Arbitration, Empirical Study, Chinese Justice, CIETAC, Rule of Law, Dispute Resolution, Contracts, Legal Reform, Decision-Making, China Trade, Foreign Trade

JEL Classification: D63, K12, K19, K29, K33, K39, K49

Suggested Citation

Chew, Pat K., Opening the Red Door to Chinese Arbitrations: An Empirical Analysis of CIETAC Cases (1990-2000) (November 1, 2017). Harvard Negotiation Law Review, Vol. 22, p. 241, 2017; U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-28. Available at SSRN:

Pat K. Chew (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412-648-1378 (Phone)


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