Over the last decades, South Korea has progressed from one of the world’s poorest countries to one of the wealthiest nations in East Asia. Korea’s economy, among the largest worldwide, heavily depends on trade and exports form its backbone. In numerous cross-border deals, Korean companies and their foreign counterparts must decide on a cross-border dispute resolution mechanism. This calls for arbitration proceedings.
Although Korean companies have traditionally opted for arbitration before the world’s best-known arbitral institutions the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (the “KCAB”) – Korea’s premier arbitral institution – has seen its caseload steadily increase over the last years. The 50 plus international cases that the KCAB administers every year put it among the more important arbitral institutions in Asia Pacific.
The KCAB celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2016 and new International Arbitration Rules (the “Rules”) entered into force on 1 June 2016. The Rules include several positive changes and innovations when compared with the previous version of the KCAB’s International Rules. Already prior to 1 June 2016 and in particular now, non-Korean companies should not panic in fear when their Korean counterparts suggest in a contract that “all disputes shall be finally settled by arbitration in accordance with the International Arbitration Rules of the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board”: as shown in this paper, the International Rules must be considered to be “on par” with that of other international arbitral institutions.ASA Bulletin