In international trade, when drafting international contracts, the parties usually focus on the terms of payment and expense but little attention to terms of dispute settlement. Thus, the parties should be aware that the disagreements and disputes can arise at any time. Therefore, in the process of concluding an international economic agreement, the parties should note the provisions on the selection methods of dispute settlement if a dispute occurs. Currently, there are 4 dispute resolution methods in international trade as follows: negotiation, mediation, commercial arbitration and court.
Negotiation is a settlement method which is usually applied in international dispute settlement. In particular, the parties discuss together, struggle, compromise and agree to settle the dispute. The result of the negotiation is that the dispute could be resolve or not. Negotiation is conducted in two ways: The two parties directly meet each other to discuss and deal or one party submit complaint to the other party and the other party answers the complaint.
Mediation is the method of resolving dispute between the parties through the role of a third party. Mediation can be accomplished by two ways: One is that the parties agree with each other about mediation, the mediator will be designated and conduct the mediation without following any rules of mediation. The second way is that the parties agree to conduct the mediation under rules of a professional organization or one specific arbitration institution, such as mediation rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
Arbitration is a method of dispute settlement arising in trade activities that are agreed between the parties and carried out according to the order and proceedings. Presently, there are kinds of arbitration such as: ad hoc arbitration and permanent arbitration.
The 3 dispute settlement methods above are voluntary in nature. They are different from the dispute settlement in accordance with judicial procedures at court. The settlement of dispute by court is to resolve dispute through the activities of the State tribunals. Therefore, litigants in the dispute are often considered as a final solution to protect their legitimate interests. Especially, when there is a conflict, the parties will choose the form of trade negotiation or mediation rather than commercial arbitration or court.