Maldives to establish international arbitration centre

In a bid to resolve trade disputes out of court, Maldives government is looking to establish an international arbitration centre in the archipelago, president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom announced Monday.

Speaking after inaugurating a colloquium named 'Doing Business in Maldives - A Judicial Perspective' president Yameen noted the absence of an arbitration centre in the Maldives presently proves a difficult proposition for businesses to resolve various trade disputes through the courts.

The primary difficulty is to translate the various international business related documents to the local language to file a dispute in a court of law, president said stressing on the need for a change.

"How can we translate all those import export documents to Dhivehi [local language]? These are really complicated international documents. When we first started out we really didn't even have the capacity to even translate them. There's really no doubt that the validity of these documents would get lost in translation," president explained.

President Yameen also noted that as Maldives attracts more and more foreign investments, the country is in dire need for a strong dispute resolution mechanism.

He also revealed that the government is presently engaged in talks with Singapore and Malaysia to establish an arbitration centre but in the meantime called on the judiciary to expedite the resolution of business disputes in the Maldives.

Maldives government was forced to resolve the row over a contract to develop the archipelago's main airport through a Singapore based arbitration tribunal.

The Singapore based tribunal had in February ruled in favour of the GMR group of companies on its dispute with the Maldives government on the airport project.

The government last month had settled the USD271 million payout to the Indian infrastructure giant.