The Economic Cities Authority (ECA) and the Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration (SCCA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in support of institutional arbitration in the economic cities and the Kingdom in general. The signing comes as part of the ECA’s vision to transform the economic cities into a global hub attracting value-adding investments, and as a continuation of the partnerships and cooperation between SCCA and entities concerned with attracting investments to the Kingdom in order to provide investors with effective alternatives to settle disputes.
The MoU was signed at ECA headquarters in King Abdullah Economic City by Eng. Imad M. Hashem, Vice Secretary General of ECA Affairs, and Abdullah S. Al Mogheerah, Deputy CEO of SCCA.
“The signing of the MoU is part of ECA’s efforts to contribute to achieving the objectives of Vision 2030 and supporting its programs and initiatives, by building effective partnerships between relevant government agencies as well as the private and public sectors,” Hashem stated, noting that “the cooperation with SCCA will undoubtedly add value in supporting current investors and attracting quality investments to the economic cities.”
Yaseen K. Khayat, Chairman of SCCA, also commented on the occasion, saying: “The MoU aims to achieve SCCA’s strategic objectives to enhance relationships with relevant parties in promoting local and foreign investment in the Kingdom. In addition, it also highlights SCCA’s commitment to provide services that contribute to the creation of an attractive investment climate in the Kingdom and the development of an institutional arbitration service.”
Dr. Hamed H. Merah, CEO of the SCCA, praised the initiative, stating: “The MoU seeks to create more opportunities for SCCA – as the official representative of the Kingdom’s arbitration services both locally and internationally– to deliver efficient alternatives that effectively settle disputes and also enhance the accessibility of its services to beneficiaries despite the distance between them.”
Merah also praised ECA’s “relentless efforts to overcome challenges and facilitate the achievement of this objective,” saying: “This step is practical evidence confirming the technical and human preparedness of SCCA to manage dispute settlements in accordance with best practices and the latest international standards. This significant phase includes a determination to establish free zones and qualitative cities in the Kingdom, such as the NEOM project, the Red Sea project, and others.”
The MoU states that both parties will work on exchanging expertise and practices through workshops and periodic meetings, in addition to providing relevant data and information that support the preparation of studies and statistics. Both parties will also seek to develop and improve the formulation of model clauses for dispute settlement of disputed contracts. The MoU also includes cooperation in dispute settlement training, awareness and capacity-building; either by developing the skills of arbitrators, mediators, and experts, or by raising the capacity of lawyers and legal advisors in drafting dispute settlements or pleadings before arbitral tribunals.
In a related development, ECA recently cooperated with a number of government agencies, including the Supreme Council of Justice, the Council of Saudi Chambers, the Ministry of Economy & Planning, and others, in order to establish a judicial system within the economic cities to be completed soon. This comes with the objective to meet the needs of economic city investors and residents, increase the competitiveness of these cities by providing an appropriate judicial environment, and creating an integrated judicial system to address issues, especially in light of the steady growth and increased investment opportunities in economic cities.