Newspeed International Limited v Citus Trading Pte Ltd

JurisdictionSingapore
JudgeWoo Bih Li JC
Judgment Date04 June 2001
Neutral Citation[2001] SGHC 126
Docket NumberOriginating Summons No 600044 of 2001
Date04 June 2001
Year2001
Published date19 September 2003
Plaintiff CounselYang Lih Shyng (Khattar Wong & Partners)
Citation[2001] SGHC 126
Defendant CounselSushil Nair and Tan Choon Leng (Drew & Napier)
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Subject MatterForeign award,Effect of defendants' prior appeal and failure to set aside award in Chinese court,Arbitration,Application by defendants to set aside Singapore court order granting leave to enforce arbitration award,Enforcement

JUDGMENT:

Grounds of Decision

Background to my decision

1. In Originating Summons No 600044 of 2001, Newspeed International Limited (‘Newspeed’) had sought leave to enforce an arbitration award dated 16 August 2000 against Citus Trading Pte Ltd (‘Citus’).

2. By an Order of Court dated 19 February 2001, such leave was granted.

3. Citus then applied in Summons-in-Chambers No 600563 of 2001 to set aside the Order granting leave to enforce.

4. After hearing arguments, including arguments on interlocutory matters, I dismissed Citus’ application with costs. Citus have appealed against this decision.

Background to Citus’ application

5. Newspeed had entered into a contract No CT/NS/001 dated 2 November 1998 (‘the Citus Agreement’) with Citus for Newspeed to buy from Citus 7,000 cubic metres (allowing 10% increase and decrease) of Indonesian Merbau Round Logs (‘the Logs’).

6. Newspeed in turn re-sold the Logs to China Timber Import/Export Company under contract number NSL/35 (‘the China Timber Agreement’).

7. Newspeed made a claim against Citus for short-delivery and defective quality. They relied on a survey report prepared by Guangdong Import and Export Commodity Inspection Bureau of the People’s Republic of China (‘GIEC’).

8. Citus’ position was that a log list had been provided with the Citus Agreement which described the Logs and explained defects in the Logs. After taking into account those that were defective, the price was adjusted accordingly.

9. Citus said that after they received the GIEC report, they sent their graders accompanied by graders from their Indonesian suppliers to Huangpu port where the Logs had been delivered.

10. Their graders, the Indonesian graders and graders from the port spent a week and came up with their own log list i.e a second log list.

11. Also the GIEC report referred to the China Timber Agreement instead of the Citus Agreement.

12. The dispute was referred to arbitration under the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (‘CIETAC’) in accordance with the terms of the Citus Agreement. Three arbitrators were appointed.

13. According to Citus they had asked for the China Timber Agreement to be produced and various information from the start of the arbitral hearing. One of the documents they had also sought was the log sheet of the GIEC which should be attached to their report.

14. The hearing of the arbitration tribunal took place on 11 January 2000 and lasted no more than 90 minutes.

15. According to the allegations of Citus or documents exhibited:

(a) Subsequent to the hearing:

(i) Citus had filed an Opinion dated 28 January 2000, and

(ii) Newspeed had filed an Opinion, received by CIETAC on 2 February 2000.

(b) CIETAC had issued a letter dated 18 February 2000 that all opinions and evidence are to be submitted by the final deadline of 10 March 2000.

(c) Both Citus and Newspeed filed further opinions:

(i) Opinion filed by Citus dated 29 February 2000

(ii) Opinion filed by Newspeed and received by CIETAC on 8 March 2000

(iii) Opinion filed by Citus dated 24 March 2000.

(d) CIETAC replied on 30 March 2000 that since the last Opinion filed by Citus was after the deadline of 10 March 2000, CIETAC may not accept it. I note that the translated version states that the arbitration tribunal will decide whether to accept the evidence submitted by Citus. Citus’ position was that the last Opinion filed by it did not forward any new document or evidence.

(e) On or around 28 April 2000, Newspeed wrote to the arbitral tribunal to explain the GIEC report and to forward for the first time, inter alia, the China Timber Agreement. Citus alleged that the authenticity of the China Timber Agreement was open to question for various reasons but it is not necessary for me to state them. Also the China Timber Agreement did not have the log list that should have accompanied this agreement.

(f) Citus alleged that despite the deadline of 10 March 2000 and CIETAC’s letter of 30 March 2000, CIETAC was prepared to accept Newspeed’s new evidence without question as CIETAC simply forwarded Newspeed’s explanation to Citus and asked them to check it.

(g) Citus alleged that Citus wrote to CIETAC on 17 May 2000 stating that the China Timber Agreement and related documents submitted constituted new evidence and sought leave for a sitting for cross-examination to be conducted. I noted that the translated version only states that Citus hoped that the arbitral tribunal will first examine and verify the new evidence (from Newspeed) before the...

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