Deals and Disputes: China, Hong Kong, and Commercial Law

May 18-20, 2021

Co-sponsored by the Asian Studies Center (ASC) and the Center for International Legal Education (CILE) at the University of Pittsburgh.

An image of a gavel pounding on a Chinese flag.

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Join us for virtual sessions over the course of three days in May that will consider the structure, reach, and impact of China’s Belt & Road Initiative and its implications for commercial relations, dispute resolution, and the future of legal developments in Asia more generally. Three panels will focus on fundamental issues of dispute resolution in US-China business contracts; the evolving of dispute resolution forums in Asia; and the future of Hong Kong as a hub for commercial relationships in the Asian region. Two keynote addresses will consider the critical recent development of China’s International Commercial Court and the importance of Hong Kong.

This program has been approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Board for seven (7) hours of substantive credit. There is a $105 fee for processing CLE credit for this event. Please be sure to indicate that you are seeking CLE credit using the form provided in registration link.

Click here to read the program in PDF format, or continue reading below.

Tuesday, May 18

8:00–8:10 a.m. (EDT): Welcome and Introduction

  • Ariel Armony, Vice Provost for Global Affairs, Director, University Center for International Studies
  • Amy Wildermuth, Dean, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
  • James Cook, Associate Director, Asian Studies Center
  • Ronald A. Brand, Director, Center for International Legal Education


8:10-9:15 a.m. (EDT): Keynote 1

The Supreme People's Court and the Development of Chinese International Commercial Law
Susan Finder, Peking University School of Transnational Law

9:25-9:40 a.m. (EDT) The Conference Context: China's Belt & Road Initiative

Matthew Johnson, Altasilva, LLC

9:40–11:10 a.m.: Panel 1

Commercial Law Dispute Resolution in US-China Business Relationships

This panel will discuss the current status of commercial law dispute resolution in litigation and arbitration in US-China business relationships. The panel will use the facts and the decision of the California Supreme Court in the case of Rockefeller Technology Investments (Asia) VII v. Changzhou SinoType Technology Co., Ltd., 9 Cal.5th 125, 460 P.3d 764 (2020), as a foundation for discussion of drafting forum selection clauses for US-China business contracts; a comparison of arbitration and litigation in US-China business contracts; possibilities for judicial cooperation between US and Chinese courts; the recognition of judgments and arbitral awards in US-China business relationships; and related issues affected by the Belt & Road Initiative.



Panelists: Ronald Brand, University of Pittsburgh School of Law

Wednesday, May 19

8:00–9:30 a.m. (EDT): Panel 2

Hong Kong, Beijing, and Asian Competition for Dispute Resolution Services

This panel will view the Belt & Road Initiative from the perspective of entrepreneurial opportunities for the creation of new courts and arbitral institutions for the settlement of international commercial disputes. This will include the rise of international commercial courts after the 2005 Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements, the shifting reliance on Hong Kong as a dispute resolution center given recent developments in the Special Administrative Region, and related issues.

Moderator: Ronald Brand, University of Pittsburgh School of Law


9:40–11 a.m. (EDT): Keynote 2

Hong Kong: Lawfare & the Shrinking Space for Civil Society

Antony Dapiran, Author of City on Fire: The Fight for Hong Kong

Thursday, May 20

8:00–9:30 a.m. (EDT): Panel 3

The Future of Hong Kong

This panel will analyze the political and legal challenges facing Hong Kong in the aftermath of the implementation of the National Security Law in June 2020. It will review the political and legal changes implemented by the law and its effects on the court system, human rights, and the legal profession. 

ModeratorJames Cook, Asian Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh


  • Michael Davis, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and Jindal Global University
  • Eva Pils, Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College, London
  • Pierre Landry, Government and Public Administration, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

9:30-9:45 a.m.: Wrap-up