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Brief Counsel

Connected Asia Pacific - April issue

23 April 2010

Welcome to the first issue of Connected Asia Pacific for 2010. This Brief Counsel focuses on developments in international trade, investment and arbitration in the Asia Pacific region. It is intended to assist exporters, importers and investors from or to New Zealand make the most of the rules which increasingly regulate their cross-border activities.

If you are interested in obtaining further advice – or in simply finding out if you might benefit from an informal discussion – please contact Principal Daniel Kalderimis.

Feature

NZ-Australia Apples dispute – urgency for a negotiated outcome?

When the Trans Tasman political newsletter broke the news that the draft WTO report in the New Zealand-Australia Apples dispute favoured New Zealand, it also reported that the New Zealand and Australian governments were searching for a negotiated settlement.  The New Zealand media has been virtually unanimous in calling for such a settlement, contending that a quick deal is necessary to ensure a practical outcome for New Zealand apple exporters.  We examine the facts and suggest that – in the context of an 89 year old dispute – there is no pressing need for New Zealand to rush to compromise what appears to be a strong legal position.

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In brief

Negotiations held in Wellington on Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), text released on 22 April 2010

The text of the controversial draft ACTA has now been made public for the first time.  We briefly summarise its import. 

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New Zealand-Hong Kong CEP signed 29 March 2010

The New Zealand-Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership agreement has been signed and its text made public for the first time.  We briefly summarise its import. 

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Expanded TPP negotiations begin; negotiations continue with Korea and will commence soon with India

Negotiations are finally underway for the expanded Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (the TPP), which – as discussed in the December 2009 edition of Connected Asia Pacific – is intended to be an expanded version of New Zealand’s P4 Agreement with Brunei Darussalam, Singapore and Chile.

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Update on investment treaty case law

A number of recent international arbitration decisions raise issues relevant to the investment chapters of New Zealand’s FTAs with China, ASEAN and Malaysia. 

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New Singapore arbitration decisions

Two recent decisions from Singapore underscore the difficulties that can arise when disputing parties disagree over the forum for the dispute. 

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Revised IBA Rules of Evidence for international arbitrations

The International Bar Association’s Rules of Evidence Review Subcommittee recently released in draft form a revised version of the IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration (the revised Rules), the original (and current) version of which came into operation in 1999 and has gained wide acceptance within the international arbitral community.  The revised version was submitted to the IBA Council for approval in March 2010.

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New Sydney arbitration centre due to open later this year

Anticipated growth in alternative dispute resolution in the Asia Pacific region has led to Sydney announcing the establishment of a new dedicated dispute resolution centre, due to open later this year.  This project has involved a significant injection of state and federal funding, with the evident intention of competing with Singapore’s new Maxwell Centre, which houses arbitral institutions, hearing facilities and support services in a single location.  This leaves Hong Kong – still the leading dispute resolution hub of the Asia Pacific – without its own ‘one-stop-shop’ facility, at least for now.