The EC endorsed the SELI Work Plan for Developing a Cooperative Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Framework for MSMES in B2B Transactions and Use of modern technology for Dispute Resolution and Electronic Agreement Management in 2017 (“SELI Workplan”).
As provided in the SELI Workplan, the way forward may include the following pathway: build a pilot, continue to promote harmonisation of the relevant laws for ODR using existing international instruments, cross-APEC collaboration, conduct relevant research/information gathering, design ODR platform, develop ODR procedural rules, capacity building, and leverage private sector and academic community support, and at the same time, explore the use of other modern technology such as the use of blockchain for automated or smart contracts for contract management or enforcement and prevention of disputes.
This project aims to organize a 2-day workshop in the margins of EC1 2018 to raise awareness among APEC member economies in the use of modern technology and the application of international to strengthen contract management, pre-dispute / pre-escalation processes to prevent disputes, dispute resolution and enforcement in cross-border commercial transactions by their businesses (including MSMEs). The project will also build the capacity of member economies on what “smart contracts” are, the considerations in their creation and issues of legal recognition and harmonization and how potential issues may be resolved using existing private international law instruments. The project will also present findings of further research and information gathering about the ODR.
This project demonstrates how the use of modern technology and related private international law instruments may complement APEC’s Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) initiative by facilitating cross-border trade and which may also contribute to APEC’s regional integration, connectivity and structural reform agenda, APEC’s Economic Committee Structural Reform agenda, the Boracay Action Agenda on MSMEs and the ongoing SELI FoTC work. The project seeks to advance structural reform and to strengthen the economic and legal infrastructure of member economies.
Outcomes of the workshop will be compiled into a report, allowing key lessons learnt to be broadly shared among APEC economies and the international community.