One of the key challenges in the course of an international arbitration with a Mainland China based counterparty is the enforcement of interim measures granted by the tribunal. As a general rule, a Mainland court will not grant any interim relief or provide any assistance to parties to an arbitration outside of Mainland China. This was an issue in Hong Kong until the Arrangement Concerning Mutual Assistance in Court-ordered Interim Measures in Aid of Arbitral Proceedings by the Courts of the Mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region came into force on 1 October 2019 and enabled recognized institutional arbitration institutions in Hong Kong to apply for relief in Mainland China and vice versa.
The arrangement has given Hong Kong the edge when choosing an arbitration seat for a contract with a Chinese counterparty. Macau, China’s other special administrative region, has not had the same advantages, meaning that whilst Hong Kong is one of Asia’s major arbitration hubs international arbitration in Macau is relatively uncommon.