Project Title

Workshop for Developing a Collaborative Framework for Online Dispute Resolution 

Project Year

2018   

Project Number

EC 05 2018A 

Project Session

Session 2   

Project Type

Standard 

Project Status

Project in Implementation   
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Project No.

EC 05 2018A 

Project Title

Workshop for Developing a Collaborative Framework for Online Dispute Resolution 

Project Status

Project in Implementation 

Publication (if any)

 

Fund Account

APEC Support Fund 

Sub-fund

ASF: Renewed APEC Agenda on Structural Reform (RAASR) 

Project Year

2018 

Project Session

Session 2 

APEC Funding

147,640 

Co-funding Amount

32,000 

Total Project Value

179,640 

Sponsoring Forum

Economic Committee (EC) 

Topics

Structural Reform 

Committee

Economic Committee (EC) 

Other Fora Involved

 

Other Non-APEC Stakeholders Involved

 

Proposing Economy(ies)

United States 

Co-Sponsoring Economies

Australia; Canada; Chile; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; Viet Nam 

Expected Start Date

01/09/2018 

Expected Completion Date

30/04/2019 

Project Proponent Name 1

Mike Dennis 

Job Title 1

US Representative to SELI 

Organization 1

US Department of State 

Postal Address 1

Not Applicable 

Telephone 1

Not Applicable 

Fax 1

Not Applicable 

Email 1

dennismj@state.gov 

Project Proponent Name 2

Mike Tracton 

Job Title 2

Office Director, Office of Investment Affairs 

Organization 2

US Department of State 

Postal Address 2

Not Applicable 

Telephone 2

Not Applicable 

Fax 2

Not Appliable 

Email 2

tractonmk@state.gov 

Declaration

Mike Dennis and Mike Tracton 

Project Summary

The project will organize and implement a two-day workshop to explore the opportunities for development of an APEC wide cooperative framework for online dispute resolution (ODR) of cross-border business-to-business (B2B) disputes involving MSMEs. POs will work closely with representatives from member economies, and partners from ODR providers such as regional arbitration and mediation centers, and businesses (including ABAC). The workshop, following the SELI ODR Work Plan will address the key elements needed for the creation of an ODR technological platform(s) that allows the parties to resolve the dispute electronically; enable participants to develop the common ODR definition and principles, respective ethical aspects, procedural rules to guide the parties in the process, and the existing legal framework for ODR based on implementation of private international law instruments; and build capacity of stakeholders, including MSMEs, economies, and private attorneys. The workshop will build on the policy dialogues on ODR held by the Economic Committee as well as the EC Strengthening the Economic and Legal Infrastructure FoTC (SELI) workshop on the use of modern technology for dispute resolution, particularly ODR held at EC1 in 2018.

Relevance

Relevance – Region: MSMEs in APEC account for over 97% of businesses and employ over half of the workforce. Yet they account for only 35% of direct exports. Expansion into international markets is crucial for MSMEs’ continued growth and APEC economies’ well-being. Yet, as the Strengthening the Economic and Legal Infrastructure (SELI) FoTC and several recent Economic Committee (EC) policy dialogues have recognized, MSMEs face significant hurdles with access to justice in cross-border transactions. A recent APEC study found that dispute resolution was one of the greatest challenges for MSMES that trade across borders, with 83% reporting that effective and consistent dispute resolution was a problem.[1]   Another study reported that as many as 35% of cross-border disputes involving MSMEs remain unresolved with the average value of the dispute being some $50,000.[2]  A Work Plan approved by SELI and endorsed by the Economic Committee at EC 2 in 2017 recommends developing a Cooperative Framework for online dispute resolution (ODR) of cross-border business-to-business (B2B) disputes involving MSMEs to address these issues. The SELI ODR Work Plan is designed to provide MSMEs:  more efficient access to commercial justice; the basis for establishment of a culture of contract-based relationships; lower transaction costs where businesses are able to allocate risk in contracting; and lower barriers for entry in international trade.  The SELI ODR Work Plan includes the following components:

·  Build a pilot in conjunction with platform host/ODR provider via outreach to regional arbitration/mediation centers to determine possible partners for hosting ODR platform

·  Continue to promote harmonisation of the relevant laws for ODR using existing international instruments

·  Cross-APEC collaboration (with e.g. ABAC, ECSG, SMEWG, GOS, TELWG)

·  Conduct relevant research/information gathering

·  Design ODR platform

·  Develop ODR procedural rules

·  Capacity building

·  Leverage private sector and academic community support 

Relevance – Eligibility: The proposal is linked directly to the 2018 APEC Funding Criteria (promoting regional economic integration) given that it contributes to improving Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) (enforcing contracts), the implementation of structural reforms under RAASR, and the integration of MSMEs into the global economy. In this regard, China, Indonesia, Chinese Taipei and Viet Nam identify enforcing contracts as an area of improvement in their IAPs while Chile, Japan, the Philippines, Russia, and Thailand generally reference improving ease of doing business.  Moreover, in a survey concerning APEC EoDB conducted by USATAARI for EC 2 in Port Moresby, 12 out of the 15 APEC economies responding substantively to the survey listed enforcing contracts as a prioritized area for overall improvement. 

Relevance – Capacity Building: Domestic courts do not work well for cross-border disputes involving MSMEs. They are too tied to geography, jurisdiction and in-person enforcement. Even if special courts were created, or systems were made more efficient, the costs of local counsel and travel plus issues of culture and language make access to redress a fiction for MSMEs transacting online with foreign companies. Traditional in-person arbitration is an improvement (and it has been recently added to EoDB), but it is not geared to the needs of MSMEs in cross-border transactions with its high cost and lack of speed.  In one recent survey, 90 percent of the respondents reported that, among cases in which disputes are taken to formal dispute resolution mechanisms, in-person arbitration was the preferred method of resolving disputes in cross-border trade [3] However, nearly three-fourths of respondents to the survey favored simplified procedures for claims under $500,000. Respondents cited cost and lack of speed as the biggest drawback to international arbitration. [4] As the UN General Assembly has recognized, ODR (as provided in the UNCITRAL ODR Technical Notes) “can assist the parties in resolving disputes in a simple, fast, flexible, and secure manner, without the need for physical presence at a meeting or hearing.”[5]  ODR has been implemented in a number of different contexts and it has consistently proven to reduce both the time and cost for resolving disputes.  Nevertheless, thus far ODR has not been offered for the resolution of cross-border disputes involving MSMEs. 

The project will also build the capacity of APEC member economies’ MSMEs. Surveys have shown that small enterprises tend to work without clear contracts and dispute resolution clauses, which makes them vulnerable in case of disputes.[6]  Use of ODR would promote a culture of contract-based relationships. In turn, it would make transactions more efficient, driving down risk and making MSMEs more competitive by lowering cost.  An effective system will result in tangible economic advantages for everyone, reducing transaction costs for both sellers and buyers in the supply chain.


[1] ABAC, USC Marshall, Driving Economic Growth through Cross-Border E-Commerce in APEC: Empowering MSMEs and Eliminating Barriers at 35, 69, 81 (APEC interviews with 506 business executives plus 244 survey responses).

[2] Ecorys, Study on the Use of Alternative Dispute Resolution for Business to Business Disputes in the European Union, at 6, 123, 125 (2012)(commissioned by the European Commission) http://www.adrcenterinternational.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/ADR-Final-Report-151012.pdf (based in part interviews with 10,840 businesses including MSMEs); European Commission, DG Enterprise and Industry, Business Disputes Keep Businesses from Doing Business, at 4.

[3] Queen Mary University of London and White & Case, 2015 International Arbitration Survey https://www.whitecase.com/publications/insight/2015-international-arbitration-survey-improvements-and-innovations.

[4] Id.

[5] GA Resolution 71/138, UNCITRAL Technical Notes on Online Dispute Resolution, December 13, 2016.

[6] Ecorys, Study on the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution for Business-to-Business disputes in the European Union, (2012) at 111.

Objectives

The central objectives of this project and workshop are to:

1) Develop an ODR Collaborative Framework for discussion at EC1 in 2019, consistent with the SELI ODR work plan;

2)  Share existing best practices in the region and discuss opportunities within APEC for creation of the ODR platform(s) with representatives from APEC economies and working with partners including platform host/ODR providers, regional arbitration/mediation centers and businesses;

3)  Build the capacity of APEC member economies including private lawyers and MSMEs to use ODR; and

4)   Leverage private sector and academic community support for building an ODR Collaborative Framework.

Alignment

Alignment - APEC:  The Workshop builds on the APEC Structural Reform Ministerial Joint Statement (2015), highlighting that: "the development of international legal instruments and their adoption will create a more conducive climate for cross-border trade and investment, thus facilitating economic growth.  Use of these instruments provides greater legal certainty in cross-border transactions, harmonization of finance and dispute resolution systems, closer economic and legal integration among cooperating economies, and the simplification of procedures involved in international transactions."  In addition, the project will follow the 2014 APEC Joint Ministerial Statement directive “to build awareness of private international law instruments to facilitate cross-border trade and investment, enhance ease of doing business, and foster effective enforcement of contracts and efficient settlement of business disputes” and respond to the call by Ministers to promote a wider use of such instruments to contribute to APEC’s regional integration, connectivity and structural reform agenda. The workshop will build on the policy dialogues held by the Economic Committee on online dispute resolution at EC 1 and 2 in 2017 and EC 2 in 2018 and the SELI workshop on the use of modern technology for dispute resolution, particularly online dispute resolution, held at EC1 in 2018.

Alignment – Forum: The proposal is based directly on the SELI ODR Work Plan” which has been endorsed by the Economic Committee.  The SELI ODR Work Plan states  “the way forward for online dispute resolution (“ODR”) in APEC may include the following pathway: [1] Build a pilot in conjunction with platform host/ODR provider via outreach to regional arbitration mediation centers to determine possible partners for hosting ODR platform; [2] Continue to promote harmonisation of the relevant laws for ODR using existing international instruments; [3] Cross-APEC collaboration  (with e.g. ABAC, ECSG, SMEWG, GOS, TELWG); [4] Conduct relevant research/information gathering; [5] Design ODR platform; [6] Develop ODR procedural rules; [7] Capacity building; [8] Leverage private sector and academic community support; [9] … [E]xplore 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.”

TILF/ASF Justification

Not Applicable.

Beneficiaries and Outputs

Outputs: The project will implement a two-day workshop that will be held November 8-9, 2018 in Osaka, Japan and include the following steps:

1) In advance of the workshop, a draft ODR Collaborative Framework based on the SELI ODR Work Plan’s direction will be distributed to APEC member economies.

2) The workshop participants will then review the draft ODR Collaborative Framework.

3) The PO will also prepare a Project Report covering recommendations and conclusions from the Workshop. The Project report would be 4-5 pages including conclusions and recommendations. We also plan to include the updated draft collaborative framework.

4) The Project Report will be submitted to SELI and the EC for consideration at EC 1 in 2019.

5) The draft ODR Collaborative Framework will also be submitted to SELI and the Economic Committee for consideration by Member Economies (if agreed).

6) After EC 1 in 2019, a completion report will be sent to the APEC Secretariat.

7) In May 2019, POs will conduct a long-term evaluation of the project with member economies.  

In considering the ODR Collaborative Framework, the workshop will review and discuss the options for the design of the ODR platform[s].  As the UNCITRAL ODR Technical Notes recognize, in order to offer ODR as a turnkey solution, a technological platform must be established.[1] The platform provides the framework that allows the parties to resolve the dispute electronically.  All communications in ODR proceedings should take place via the ODR platform.  In considering, an ODR platform[s], the impact of modern technological developments will be considered, particularly with regard to the privacy and security of information transmitted. 

For purposes of the pilot stage of any ODR Collaborative Framework, the best option (as reflected in the SELI ODR Work Plan) may be partnering with ODR providers such as regional arbitration and mediation centers willing to provide their own platforms or other organizations volunteering to help establish open-source and freely accessible platforms rather than having APEC build and manage a new standalone platform for testing the possible suitable ODR solutions in the framework of the project. 

The workshop will discuss the common ODR definition and principles, including respective ethical aspects relevant to the Collaborative Framework. As the UNCITRAL ODR Technical Notes recognize ODR may defined as a “mechanism for resolving disputes through the use of electronic communications and other information and communication technology.”[2]  The UNCITRAL ODR Technical Notes further recognize that “the principles that underpin any ODR process include fairness, transparency, due process, and accountability.[3]  ODR proceedings should be subject to “the same confidentiality and due process standards that apply to dispute resolution proceedings in an offline context, in particular independence, neutrality and impartiality.”[4] 

The workshop may upon agreement of all Member Economies further develop draft ODR procedural rules for use in the Collaborative Framework.  ODR should follow a rules-based approach to ensure that the parties are afforded the same quality of due process regardless of where they are located.  Economies can discuss how to carefully adapt the existing rules for commercial arbitration and mediation, such as the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules for ODR.  The UNCITRAL ODR Technical Notes can assist in that process.  One question with regard to procedural rules is functionality, and what elements should be incorporated into the ODR platform?  The most common options for business-to-business transactions as recognized by the UNCITRAL ODR Technical Notes are online negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. Other elements such as costs, duration, and other applicable procedural rules will be examined. 

The workshop may also consider the relevance to the ODR Collaborative Framework of other existing private international instruments such as the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (consistent with the SELI ODR Work Plan). 

This workshop will leverage additional support by engaging experts from the private sector including from ABAC, academia, private online dispute resolution providers and regional arbitration and mediation centers interested in partnering with APEC on an ODR Collaborative Framework.   The workshop will also invite experts from relevant international institutions such as UNCITRAL. 

POs will also invite relevant policymakers and government officials responsible for the design and implementation of ODR reforms in member economies. Relevant agencies will include Ministries of Justice, Economic Planning and Development, and Commerce.  The workshop will review ODR platforms that have been implemented including through private sector ODR providers, economies (including through the courts) and at a regional level. Other issues such as oversight and monitoring mechanism will also be discussed. 

Outcomes: Implementation of ODR for MSMEs engaged in cross-border disputes could save APEC MSMEs billions of dollars. Studies show that in one region, over one-fourth of MSMEs were involved in B2B disputes over a three-year period, with the average value of the dispute being $50,000. Additionally, as many as 35% of these disputes remained unresolved with the cost of unresolved disputes estimated to be 2.8% of their turnover.[5] 

Reducing the number of unresolved disputes through implementation of ODR would also increase the liquidity and sustainability of MSMEs.  Studies show that the vast majority of small business B2B disputes are about payments.[6]  MSMEs are particularly vulnerable to late payments as cash flow and credit lines are far more restricted than for larger companies with 55 percent of small businesses facing liquidity problems.[7]  As the World Bank has found, speedy dispute resolution is “essential for small enterprises, which may lack the resources to stay in business while awaiting the outcome of a long court dispute.”[8]  If the outstanding payment is not large, it is too expensive to go to court or in-person arbitration. 

Implementation of ODR also has the potential to help harmonize client relationships for MSMEs.  A significant cost that MSMEs face because of unresolved disputes is loss of market through a damaged relationship with the client.  This is especially important for MSMEs because they generally have fewer clients than large businesses. 

In the medium term, use of a pilot in the Collaborative Framework would provide a good test of how an ODR mechanism could function in APEC and enable APEC leaders to refine it before implementing a more final/permanent version. 

The workshop will include also discuss how ODR has been implemented in a number of APEC economies including through the courts.  Economies interested in implementing ODR at a national level will receive an immediate benefit from that discussion. 

Beneficiaries: Immediate beneficiaries of this project will be the participants who attend the workshop and their organizations including member economy representatives and industry stakeholders/partners.  Invitations for the workshop  have suggested that economies consider nominating relevant government officials with experience and responsibly in the design and implementation of dispute resolution systems including ODR in their own economies.  POs have also received recommendations on the participation of key private sector stakeholders/partners from co-sponsoring economies, SELI and ABAC.  POs have attempted to employ selection criteria that will be as inclusive as possible in inviting member economy stakeholders. 

Long-term beneficiaries will be the MSMEs in APEC economies who will be able to increase their economic participation and reduce business risks through the use of ODR.


[1] UNCITRAL ODR Technical Notes, para 26 (2016).

[2]  Id., para.24.

[3]  Id., para. 7.

[4] Id., para. 53.

[5] Ecorys, Study on the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution for Business-to-Business disputes in the European Union, supra at 6, 123, 125; DG Enterprise and Industry, Business Disputes Keep Businesses from Doing Business, supra at 4.

[6] Study on the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution for Business-to-Business disputes, supra, at 124; Business Disputes Keep Businesses from Doing Business, supra, at 5. (Finding in EU that “71% of the disputes of small enterprises and 44% of medium-sized enterprises are concerned with payments.”)

[7] Ecorys, Study on the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution for Business-to-Business disputes in the European Union, supra, at 12. 

[8] World Bank, Doing Business 2017, Regional Profile, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) at 215.

Dissemination

The workshop materials including agendas, initial draft framework and procedural rules, and presentations will be distributed to the participants electronically and will be made available through the APEC website (Meeting Document Database). The draft ODR Collaborative Framework will be considered at EC 1 in 2019 by SELI and the Economic Committee if agreed to by the workshop participants and economies.  The draft Collaborative Framework could also continue to be reviewed by economies intersessionally after the workshop. The draft ODR Collaborative Framework may include upon agreement of Member Economies a recommendation for developing a framework for an ODR pilot involving regional arbitration and mediation centers, options for designing a platform, draft procedural rules for ODR, and an assessment of the overall legal framework for ODR and implementation of the ODR Collaborative Framework based on the implementation of of private international law instruments/standards..  There is no intention to produce any publication as a result from this activity.  The POs will provide a Project Report on the outcomes of the workshop at EC 1 2019 in Santiago.

Gender

POs will work to ensure that both female and male speakers and participants have equal opportunities to attend and actively participate in the workshop. POs will try to identify and invite relevant speakers, both men and women, as far in advance as possible and will send invitations to economies with enough time for them to consider the most suitable participants. In the invitation, POs will encourage economies to consider gender balance in their nominations and will pay attention to the nominations received from economies. Considering previous workshops on similar topics, the POs will try to achieve at least 35% women participants. POs will include gender information in the sign-in sheets as well as in the evaluations of the workshop to measure the percentage of women participants. 

In terms of the overall project objectives, online dispute resolution has an important role in providing increased access to justice for women-led MSMES, and the project may include a session in the workshop or discussion addressing the issues particularly relevant to women.

Work Plan

The project will implement a two-day workshop that will build on and integrate the results from SELI.

Work Plan for ODR.   The workshop would take place in Osaka, Japan, November 8-9, 2018. 

Below are some of the key actions for this project:                     

Timeline

Key task

Deliverables

September 2018

POs will work to develop the draft agenda for the workshop, identify relevant experts and speakers, and send speakers invitations, and draft a ODR Collaborative Framework

 Draft agenda for the workshop including the list of experts and speakers; Invitations to speakers; Draft ODR Collaborative Framework

September/October 2018

Circulate the invitation and nomination forms for the workshop to APEC economies through the Economic Committee; prepare and circulate information note; circulate final agenda, circulate the draft ODR Collaborative Framework to APEC economies for comment through SELI

Invitation, nominations forms; and information note for participants; Draft ODR Collaborative Framework

8 – 9 November 2018

Implement a two-day workshop in Osaka Japan; Review Project Report including recommendations and conclusions of Workshop

Implementation of the workshop; R

Project Report

EC1 2019

Finalize Project Report and report back to SELI and the Economic Committee Plenary on the outcomes of the workshop including the draft ODR Collaborative Framework (if agreed)

Project Report and the draft ODR Collaborative Framework (if agreed); Report to SELI and the Economic Committee

April 2019

Prepare and send completion report to APEC Secretariat

Completion report

June 2019

POs will conduct a follow-up survey with economies to evaluate the project on a long term basis

Follow-up Survey

Risks

In the case of the workshop, risks may include finalizing list of good quality speakers as well as relevant participants from all member economies and regional arbitration and mediation centers. POs have attempted  to manage this risk by carefully designing the agenda of the workshop and identifying relevant experts in advance of project approval. In addition, POs and the Secretariat have also circulated to economies a save the date and information package that includes the draft agenda and information of the desired profile of participants to guide economies in the nomination process. Another risk for the workshop concerns possible delays in the development and collection of workshop materials and inputs, including presentations from speakers. For this issue, POs will work closely with speakers to ensure timely submission of their presentations so that the necessary information and analysis is available by the time of the event. The current speakers have agreed to provide their presentations in a timely fashion. 

Another risk concerning the pilot concerns the willingness of regional arbitration and mediation centers to partner with APEC in developing and funding the ODR platform(s).  So far, none of the current ODR initiatives has provided a solution for MSMEs in cross-border commercial transactions.  There seem to be a number of reasons: (1) the number of businesses offering ODR has been limited in light of the expenses associated with building a secure ODR platform; (2) the mechanisms have been limited given that lower-value disputes involving MSMEs may not be thought to generate enough revenue to be viable; and (3) the ODR mechanisms are often restricted to the particular business or region in which they are implemented. To mitigate this risk, POs have  worked with member economies to invite to the workshop as many interested ODR providers as possible including regional arbitration and mediation centers. 

Finally, any draft Collaborative Framework developed at the workshop would be subject to agreement and approval by SELI and the Economic Committee at EC 1 in 2019.  There should be strong support for the draft ODR Collaborative Framework since it is based on the SELI ODR Work Plan that was approved by the Economic Committee.  Additionally, the draft ODR Collaborative Framework provides a flexible approach for economies by permitting them to opt in to the framework.

Monitoring and Evaluation

POs will regularly monitor the progress of the activities under this project.  At the outset of the workshop, POs will conduct a survey of the participants regarding their expectations concerning the workshop and the extent to which the participants deem the workshop relevant to the participants/economies work in the field of ODR. 

POs will also develop participant evaluation forms to collect participants’ feedback after the completion of the  workshop. The evaluations will allow participants to assess the quality of the workshop, on the substantive program as well as on the organization and logistics. The evaluations will also try to measure the level of knowledge gained by participants on key issues or topics covered during the workshop as well as the relevance of the workshop to the participants/economies work in the field of ODR.  POs will conduct a similar survey as part of the long-term evaluation of the project.  That survey will attempt to gauge how knowledge and skills were applied by member economies including whether they applied what they learned in the workshop as a regular part of their jobs and whether the workshop contributed to legal/regulatory chance concerning the use of ODR in their economy. Additionally, POs will report on the number of participating economies and the number of participants.  Data disaggregated by gender will be collated to ensure that impacts on women are measured and monitored – this will include the number of participants as well as the number of technical experts engaged as speakers and experts. This information will be reported through the APEC process – via APEC Monitoring and Completion reports. 

The POs will use as indicator of gender participation, the percentage of participants who are women. The target for this indicator in this project will be 35%. 

After the Workshop, the POs will work with SELI and ABAC to coordinate future industry stakeholder/ partnership cooperation on the draft Collaborative Framework. The Draft Collaborative Framework (if approved) will be considered at the EC 1 meeting by SELI and the Economic Committee.

Linkages

In addition to the direct linkage to EoDB, structural reform and the SELI ODR Work Plan under the Economic Committee, this project is also aligned with other areas of work in APEC fora.  The SELI ODR Work Plan specifically calls for cross-APEC collaboration (with e.g. ABAC, ECSG, SMEWG, GOS, TELWG).  In particular, this project advances the initiatives of the Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group (SMEWG) to encourage the development of MSMEs and to build their capacity to engage in international trade through the use of modern technology.  In order to promote collaboration with other relevant APEC areas of work, POs will invite representatives from these fora to the workshop and share information about the workshop and review its outcome. The workshop will also engage non-APEC stakeholders. Experts from relevant international organizations, such as UNCITRAL, will be invited to discuss the best practices and experiences.

Sustainability

This project including the development of the draft ODR Collaborative Framework is part of the APEC SELI work plan  on developing a Collaborative Framework for online dispute resolution of cross-border business-to-business disputes in APEC involving MSMEs.  A follow-up discussion, on the Work Plan and draft Collaborative Framework (if agreed) is being planned for EC 1 in 2019 (including through a Policy Dialogue). 

After the project is completed, the POs will provide all relevant information from the workshop (agenda, speakers, bios, presentations) to the APEC Secretariat to be uploaded in the APEC website, and will submit a Project Report on the outcomes pf the activity to the APEC EC so that future activities can build on this work. 

Development of a pilot, as called for in the SELI ODR Work Plan and draft ODR Collaborative Framework would assist with another crucial element of the SELI ODR Work Plan -- research/information gathering. APEC partners will need to share relevant data about the pilot including the number of disputes resolved, the stage at which the disputes are resolved and whether the parties were satisfied with the process.  APEC partners will also be encouraged to share challenges and issues encountered during the process. Economies will also be encouraged to consider whether any needed infrastructure is in place and accessible to the interested parties. After the pilot is completed, SELI would be in a position to assess where things stand and determine next steps for the implementation of the ODR Collaborative Framework. 

Additionally the project is linked to the EC work on Ease of Doing Business Enforcing Contracts (which considers how long it takes to resolve a simple contract dispute in court involving an MSME as well as alternative dispute resolution mechanisms).  Economies will be encouraged to report on any improvement to enforcing contracts through use of ODR through Ease of Doing Business initiative (as well as at the ODR Policy Dialogue).

Project Overseers

Mr. Mike Dennis is an attorney with the Office of Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Representative to the APEC Economic Committee FoTC on Strengthening the Economic and Legal Infrastructure. He has represented the United States in international fora on public and private international law matters. Most recently, he has served as Representative of the United States at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) annual sessions and in the working groups on arbitration, online dispute resolution, and creating an enabling legal environment for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises. Additionally, he has served as the Representative of the United States at Hague Conference on Private International Law meetings. He has worked with the Department’s Financial Inclusion Working Group, assisting in implementing legal reforms in the Americas and APEC region. 

Mr. Michael Tracton is Director of the Office of Investment Affairs (“OIA”) in the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.  In this capacity, he leads and oversees Department initiatives on international investment and improved business climates.

Cost Efficiency

Not Applicable.

Drawdown Timetable

 

Direct Labour

Not Applicale.

Waivers

Not Applicable.

Are there any supporting document attached?

No 
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