1. Good afternoon to all of you in Shenzhen. The Department of Justice of Hong Kong SAR is delighted to be a supporting organisation of the China National Round of the FDI Moot in Shenzhen. Let me extend my sincere thanks to SCIA for their devotion in organising the National Round, which provides a ticket to the most exciting Global Finals of FDI Moot to be held in Seoul this November. The insightful pre-moot webinars organised by SCIA have also promoted nationwide exchange and discussion on the topic of investment arbitration.
2. The COVID-19 pandemic not only changes much of our lifestyle, but also presents an opportunity to rethink how arbitration proceedings can be conducted free from geographical limitation. Against this background, the development of online dispute resolution (ODR) has gained unprecedented momentum over the past two years. Hong Kong, for example, has opted into the APEC Collaborative Framework on ODR of Cross-Border Business to Business Disputes, and supported the development of an ODR and deal-making platform by eBRAM Centre. To cope with COVID-19 related disputes, we have launched the COVID-19 ODR Scheme in Hong Kong last year, which is operated by eBRAM Centre, to provide ODR services for low value disputes at minimal cost. We have also recently set up the Inclusive Global Legal Innovation Platform on ODR (iGLIP on ODR) to contribute to the international development on ODR in collaboration with UNCITRAL.
3. Under this changing dispute resolution landscape, it is encouraging to see FDI Moot Shenzhen 2021 being held smoothly in virtual mode, with the technical support of eBRAM Centre. Indeed, the Moot is a vivid exemplification of an ODR process, where the disputing parties and adjudicators from different parts of the world can take part in online hearings seamlessly without the need to travel across borders.
4. The competition this year has been fierce with the participation of 42 teams from elite law schools from Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR and over 300 arbitrators around the globe. On this note, I would like to congratulate the 16 teams who have made their way to the Elimination Round. My special congratulations to all winners of this Round and the top teams that will proceed to the Global Finals. I hope you all have enjoyed the thrill of competition and most importantly, the valuable exchanges with other competitors and distinguished judges over these two months. Thank you, again, SCIA for organising such a successful and enjoyable competition. May the best team win!