ICC’s new ‘expert rules’ for international disputes showcased in Dubai

THE International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has launched its program of ‘expert rules’ to help resolve international cross-border commercial disputes.

Known as the ICC Expert Rules, the first of three showcase events to demonstrate the system took place in Dubai on January 14. Dubai was selected for the launch as it is one of the world’s major business dispute resolution hubs. 

Entering into force on February 1, the 2015 ICC Rules set out new parameters for ICC expert services, clarifying how parties can use experts and neutrals to help resolve their cross-border disputes at each step of the way. They will be administered by the ICC International Centre for ADR and will be made available in English, Spanish and French.

The panel of international speakers taking part in the launch event included Ali Al Aidarous International Legal Practice (UAE), managing attorney Ali Aidarous; KPMG Risk Consulting in Europe, Middle East, Africa and South Asia (EMA) head and partner Pablo Bernad, who is also a member of the Standing Committee for Expertise of the ICC International Centre for ADR; Fenwick Elliott (UK) partner Nicholas Gould; and Advokatfirman Runeland AB’s Aisha Nadar.

“Being a litigator and an international arbitrator, I may safely state that services related to ICC expertise are extremely useful tools for arbitration in the MENA region where there are no, or little, regulations in this regard,” Mr Aidarous said.

“ICC can definitely fill this gap by proposing and appointing an expert, as well as administering the expert proceedings at an international standard.”

Mr Aidarous said launching this new set of rules in the MENA region underlined ICC’s commitment to its international work. Over the last decade, ICC saw the number of cases involving parties from the MENA region increase.

Drawing on ICC’s 40-year experience in cross-border dispute resolution, and with specialist input from its membership in over 90 countries, the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR will replace the current ICC Rules for Expertise with three new sets of rules.

Each covers a distinct area of ICC’s dispute resolution services: the Proposal of Experts and Neutrals, the Appointment of Experts and Neutrals, and the Administration of Expertise Proceedings.

Hannah Tumpel, senior counsel and manager of the ICC International Centre for ADR said, “As all other sets of dispute resolution rules, the Expert Rules are specifically tailored to the needs and interest of international disputes.”

Ms Tumpel said the launch event program underscored how the new rules could leverage ICC’s unique international network when parties need support in identifying leading experts for arbitration and court proceedings. The event examined when and how to involve experts in international arbitration proceedings and provided examples of expert proceedings administered by ICC.

The rules also explicitly mention suitable neutrals such as mediators, conciliators or dispute board members.

The services provided by the ICC International Centre for ADR under these three revised sets of rules form an integral part of ICC’s suite of dispute resolution services, supporting businesses in sectors as varied as finance, construction, energy, telecommunication and transport among others. The new rules provide different ways to access the services of the right expert or neutral and can be used independently or in conjunction with other procedures such as ICC Arbitration.

Further launch events take place in London on January 21 and in New York on January 27.

Mr Aidarous said gathering some of the world's most renowned dispute resolution professionals, the events benefit anyone wanting to learn about ICC expert services, from corporate counsel and company managers, to arbitrators, mediators, dispute resolution specialists, lawyers and judges.

The January 14 launch in Dubai was supported by Baker and MacKenzie, Habib Al Mulla, Al Tamimi & Co in Dubai, Al Al Aidarous and KPMG.



January start for Aust-Japan trade deal

THE much anticipated  Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) will enter into force on January 15, 2015, opening up two rounds of tariff cuts for Australian exporters to benefit from in the first half of the year.

Australian beef – with exports to Japan last year worth $1.4 billion – is expected to be a major beneficiary with the 38.5 percent tariff to be halved over 15 years, with heavy front-end loading, including an eight percent cut in the first year. This will give Australian exporters a major advantage over the United States – the major competitor.

Australia and Japan exchanged notes in Canberra on December 16, confirming that both countries have completed their domestic processes and are ready to bring JAEPA into force.

“JAEPA will deliver substantial benefits for the Australian economy, and the deal means that our exporters will benefit from an immediate round of tariff cuts by Japan on January 15, followed by a further round of cuts on the April 1, 2015,” Federal Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb said.

“Like the back-to-back tariff cuts provided by the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement, this will deliver immediate benefits for exporters and significantly enhance their competitive position in the Japanese market.”

Mr Robb said more than 97 percent of Australia’s goods exports to Japan would receive preferential access, or enter duty-free, once the Agreement is fully implemented.

“JAEPA will expand opportunities with our second largest trading partner across a wide range of industries, including agriculture and processed foods, resources, manufacturing and services,” Mr Robb said.

 “This is the most ambitious Free Trade Agreement Japan has concluded with anyone, let alone a major agricultural economy. The Agreement will also support growth in investment from Japan – already our third largest investor – by raising the foreign investment screening threshold for private Japanese investment into Australia,” Mr Robb said.

JAEPA will be the second of three historic trade agreements concluded by the current Federal Government  to enter into force following Korea.

The recently concluded China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) forms the third in a powerful trifecta of agreements with the major economies of North Asia, Mr Robb said.

He said he hoped ChAFTA would enter into force in the second half of 2015 following completion of domestic legal and parliamentary processes in both countries.

“These three agreements will be transformative for the Australian economy, supporting economic growth, job creation, greater prosperity and higher living standards for Australians,” Mr Robb said.

JAEPA was signed in Canberra on July 8, 2014, during Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Australia.


Aust-Korea Foundation welcomes trade agreement

THE Australia-Korea Foundation (AKF) has welcomed the official start of Australia’s Free Trade Agreement with South Korea (KAFTA) on December 12, saying it will further drive regional ties on many levels.

“This is a significant achievement for both countries,” acting chair of the AKF Board, Mike Manton said.

“Australia and Korea are major regional countries with strong, complementary economies, vibrant cultures and an enduring commitment to supporting peace and prosperity in our region,” Professor Manton said.

“The importance of our relationship increases every year and the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement will further strengthen ties between u.”

Korea is Australia’s third-largest export market with Australian exports of goods and services worth more than $22 billion in 2013-14.

On 12 December, tariffs were eliminated on 84 percent of Korea’s imports, by value, from Australia. There is another tariff cut on January 1, 2015.

On full implementation of KAFTA, 99.8 percent of Australian goods exports will enter Korea duty free,” Prof. Manton said.

The Australia-Korea Foundation has, since its establishment 22 years ago, encouraged deeper relations between Australia and Korea, including promoting greater understanding of Korea by Australians, and showcasing Australian excellence and innovation in Korea.

The Foundation’s annual grant round will open in February 2015.

A KAFTA overview, an outcomes summary, and a guide for exporting and importing goods, including relevant contact details, can be found at:


Jetts exports 24/7 fitness to UK, Europe

THE Australian pioneers of the round-the-clock gym with no lock-in contracts, Jetts is launching in the United Kingdom and has just opened its first company-owned club in the Netherlands.

Jetts has a further three clubs on track to open in the next six months, marking an export milestone for the group  just seven years after it launched its first club on the Gold Coast. 

Joining Jetts with more than 20 years experience in the industry, Kenny McAndrew has been appointed to head up operations in the UK and join the existing European Jetts team based in Holland.

Jetts’ commitment to evolving its model to suit local conditions was marked by Jetts executive director, Adrian McFedries, relocating to the Netherlands to start building a foundation for Europe.

“Members have embraced the Jetts brand with open arms and we are excited to be providing even more members the freedom to workout on their own terms,” Jetts CEO Martin Oliver said.

“Jetts has a proud history of being a game changer in the fitness industry with our no lock-in contract, 24/7 offer. Our complete focus is on creating the most customer-centric offer in the market, and we recognised Europe and the UK as a market where we can make waves.”

The expansion into Europe and Jetts launch in the UK is the result of two years of research and planning, with the decision to first move into the Netherlands based on a number of factors.

“Sixtreen percent of the population in the Netherlands are members of a commercial gym compared to 13 percent in Australia, so the pool of potential customers is quite large,” Mr Oliver said.

“The Dutch industry is still dominated by older underinvested chains with a traditional fitness model of big clubs, lock-in contracts and limited opening hours, so we see a strong need for a very customer-centric offer,” he said.

“Our work in New Zealand has taught us what it takes to be successful in a new country, so we’re applying a similar approach as we march into Europe. The product and value proposition has to be right, but the team on the ground is equally important.”

Both Mr Oliver and Mr McAndrew possess a strong understanding of the UK market, having worked together during Mr Oliver’s time as managing director of Cannons Health Clubs.

“We are fortunate to have a great leader in Kenny and a dedicated European and UK team who are passionate about the brand and what we stand for,” Mr Oliver said.

“Coupled with a depth of understanding of the product and the market from the Australian support team, this will be the key to our success internationally.”

Mr Oliver said Jetts’ success domestically was driven by the ongoing strong demand from customers for a gym that provides a high standard of customer service, and great value for money. Since opening their first club on the Gold Coast in 2007, the group has opened 250 clubs across Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and is now moving into the UK.

The group currently has more than 250,000 members.  Further international expansion is planned for the Australian-owned brand, with an entry into Asia in mid to late 2015.

“Europe, the UK and Asia provides Jetts with long term growth options but we will take a ‘one club, one country at a time’ approach to international expansion,” Mr Oliver said.

“We know our business model works but we have no ambition to be racing around the globe expanding for the sake of growth. When we look back in 20 years’ time, we want to see that we inspired people to live a better life through our brand, and international expansion plays a big part in seeing that vision come to reality.”


Aust. tourism ‘exports’ reach record $30 billion

  • Trade

AUSTRALIA’s tourism industries continue to grow, in spite of the restrictive Australian dollar, reaching $30 billion throughout last year with eight key markets recording record arrivals.

Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb this month welcomed the release of International Visitor Survey data showing tourism exports had climbed to more than $30 billion a year. 

Tourism Research Australia’s International Visitor Survey for the year ending June 2014 revealed record arrivals from eight of Australia’s key markets: New Zealand, USA, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, India and Germany.

Mr Robb said these figures come at a time when there is a reported $20 billion worth of prospective investment in new Australian tourism infrastructure at the high-quality end of the market.

“Tourism Australia has received record levels of funding, tourism is a national investment priority, the Passenger Movement Charge has been frozen and the Carbon Tax has been abolished,” Mr Robb said.

“Tourism is one of our great strengths and, under the Abbott Government, the industry is finally receiving the attention it deserves. We are pursuing an aggressive investment agenda to ensure we develop the infrastructure required to cater for the growing international demand,” Mr Robb said.

He said the Federal Government was also providing $43 million for a new Tourism Demand-Driver Infrastructure Programme; $10 million in new funding for the Australia-China Approved Destination Status (ADS) scheme; and $2 million to support the staging of Australia Week in China (AWIC) again in 2016.

Tourism Research Australia’s International Visitor Survey is available at


Milestones reached on Korea free trade

  • Trade

THE Australian Parliament is moving swiftly on implementing the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA), with the report from the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) tabled last week.

Trade and Investment Minister, Andrew Robb, responded promptly to the recommendation to proceed with binding treaty action and the Federal Government introduced ‘implementing customs’ legislation into Parliament on September 4. 

“This brings the entry into force of KAFTA, and the many benefits it offers, one step closer,” Mr Robb said. “JSCOT’s review has clearly recognised the benefit of KAFTA to Australian business and to the Australian economy.”

South Korea is Australia’s third-largest export market and fourth-largest trading partner, with bilateral trade worth $32 billion in 2013.

“KAFTA is a world-class, comprehensive agreement that substantially liberalises our trade and supports investment with a major market,” Mr Robb said.

KAFTA will significantly boost Australia’s position in this major market where competitors like the United States, European Union and ASEAN countries are already benefitting from preferential access.

“Both governments are working towards entry into force before the end of 2014, so that businesses in both countries can enjoy the benefits as soon as possible,” Mr Robb said.

KAFTA is also being reviewed by the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, which is due to report within one month of the tabling of the JSCOT report.

More information:

Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA)

South Korea


Exports on the rise to main Asian trading partners

THE Australian Bureau of Statistics Trade in Goods and Services most recent data shows that Australian exports have increased 11 percent from last year with resources exports increasing 19 percent.

Australia experienced four consecutive months of surpluses including a $900 million surplus in March, before experiencing a trade deficit in April of just $122 million and a minor fall in exports of just 1.5 percent in April. This underpins Australia’s strong economic position according to Federal Trade Minister Andrew Robb. 

“Australia’s position has strengthened over a sustained period of months and minerals and ore exports in particular are continuing to experience significant growth,” Mr Robb said.

“Australia has also increased exports across ASEAN nations and North Asia and the conclusion of the Korean and Japanese Free Trade Agreements will provide even greater opportunities to facilitate trade relationships for Australian exporters.

“Australia’s exports to the United States experienced a modest year on year increase to reach $794 million in a sign of steady confidence from the United States – which remains Australia’s largest source of foreign direct investment and long-term trading partner,” he said.

Other major export gains year on year included:

Exports to ASEAN nations were up 35.2 percent to $2.4 billion.

Exports to China increasing 25.4 percent to $9.1 billion.

Exports to Japan increased 8.3 percent to $3.9 billion.

Exports to Thailand increased 48.3 percent to $427 million.

Exports to Singapore increased 117.5 percent to $807 million.

Exports to Vietnam increased 95.4 percent to $299 million.

Services exports increased 10 percent to approach the $5 billion mark.

Metals exports increased 7.7 percent to $1 billion while machinery exports rose by 10 per cent to $782 million.

Imports rose 6.6 percent to $28.6 billion driven by a rise in imports of consumption goods, intermediate goods and services.

Exports to Europe and India have experienced a decrease.



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