More than 60 countries have reason to thank Shanghai's courts

The city's courts take every effort to resolve business disputes related to foreign companies.

As part of the city’s development to become a global commercial center, Shanghai courts have resolved business disputes involving companies from more than 60 countries.

From 2012 to 2016, local courts received 4,785 business disputes involving companies from overseas countries and China’s Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, Shanghai High People’s Court said on Tuesday.

About 66 percent of the disputes concerned foreign companies, half of which are based in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and Singapore, and other countries considered as China’s major business partners. Of the rest, nearly 20 percent disputes concerned Hong Kong companies, court said.

Over five years, the companies were embroiled in disputes involving more than 37 billion yuan (US$5.6 billion). Of the disputes, 560, or nearly 12 percent of the total, concerned more than 10 million yuan respectively, including one that involved 2.9 billion yuan, the court said. 

It didn't disclose details on individual cases, but did say the top three disputes were about a loan, company affairs and a trading contract. These types of disputes account for about 75 percent of the total cases.

Judge Pan Yunbo said it’s challenging to solve disputes involving foreign companies.

Common problems include lack of evidence as authentic information about foreign companies isn't easily accessible and plaintiffs can’t always translate documents exactly and clearly.

Another major problem, Pan said, is that some of the companies want to follow foreign laws. In one case, a Chinese company sued a Swedish company over contract disputes.

The Pudong New Area People’s Court ruled that as these contracts had written-in protection from Swedish laws, only Swedish courts had the right to resolve the disputes.

To provide a better service, foreign mediators are now being used in Shanghai.

In one dispute between two foreigners, for example, the Pudong court invited an Australian man, whose Chinese name is Kong Hongde, to help the two sides to resolve their problems. He is an expert in business and his intervention proved a success, Pan said.

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