Tran Ngoc Liem, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s HCM City office, said greater economic integration brings Vietnamese enterprises both opportunities and an increasing number of commercial disputes.
With courts overburdened with a huge amount of lawsuits, enterprises should consider using mediation and arbitration to resolve commercial disputes to save time, he said.
He stressed mediation is a civilised way to resolve conflicts and is used by more and more businesses around the world.
After the Government issued Decree No 22 last year, Vietnam has become the second country in Southeast Asia after Singapore to have regulations for commercial mediation, he said.
The Vietnam Mediation Centre (VMC) was also established under the decree. Though the number of enterprises that know about the centre is still small, a VCCI survey found enterprises receptive to and very positive about mediation, he said.
Phan Trong Dat, Deputy Secretary General of the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC) and Deputy Director of the VMC, said mediation is appropriate for Asian culture since Asians prefer to settle disputes in a peaceful way.
According to Dat, mediation is simply a negotiation with the participation of an independent mediator who can help both parties discuss their matter and reach their own agreement.
He said the rate of successful mediation cases is very high in foreign countries since businesses always want to settle disputes as soon as possible.
He said with a regulatory framework for commercial mediation in place and the setting up of a mediation centre, enterprises have started looking at it. At the moment, there is a significant number of enterprises coming to the VMC and consulting on drafting mediation forms.
“Though we have not handled any mediation case yet, I believe this method will be preferred by enterprises in the coming time,” Dat said.
According to a VMC survey, cost used to be listed as one of the reasons for enterprises not choosing this method to resolve commercial disputes.
Dat said the centre charges a relatively low fee for mediation since it understands that most enterprises in Vietnam are small or medium-sized and have financial issues.
The centre has very carefully considered and set a fee that is affordable to most SMEs, he added.
The VMC now has 11 mediators, who are some of the country’s top experts in trade and commercial activities.