Press releases

Supporting small businesses to settle business disputes

31 May 2016
ITC News
Small businesses can benefit from understanding arbitration and mediation options, with this new ITC publication

International business brings new opportunities – and new risks – especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) venturing into unfamiliar foreign markets with different languages, cultures and legal systems. By incorporating arbitration and mediation clauses into their contracts, small firms can better protect themselves from the risks of trading across borders.

Settling Business Disputes: Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution, a new publication by the International Trade Centre (ITC), provides an overview of traditional and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options for international trade.

There is considerable evidence that international arbitration and ADR processes work. They are used extensively and are constantly evolving.

‘Greater awareness and use of various arbitration and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms will lead to stronger and smoother trade and to a more transparent and efficient business environment, said Arancha González, Executive Director, International Trade Centre. ‘ITC stands ready to support this and enhance alternative dispute resolution services for the benefit of small firms.’

This is the second edition of this handbook. To impart an understanding of the array of practical means to prevent and resolve commercial disputes, it offers case studies, tools and sample contract language to assist SMEs in developing countries seeking to engage in international transactions.

Focus on arbitration, mediation

The major types of business disputes that can arise in the international business environment are the focus of the first part of this handbook, along with mechanisms that can be used to prevent or resolve these disputes.

Since the first edition of the handbook was published in 2001, nonbinding mediation has become much more accepted and popular, including in the international context. The second part therefore discusses what mediation is and how it works.

In the international context, binding arbitration remains the most widely used dispute resolution mechanism. The third part provides a detailed discussion of the arbitration process. The handbook concludes with references to useful arbitration tools.

Who it’s for: SME exporters, legal centres and trade institutions

Settling Business Disputes: Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution is for businesses that are export-ready, new exporters and experienced operators, as well as legal counsel. It is a valuable tool for arbitration and mediation centres, as well as trade and investment support institutions seeking to assist their SME clients.

The handbook is available in English, French and Spanish. ITC welcomes partnerships to translate and reprint this valuable information locally.