Arbitrators have welcomed a decision by the mainland's leading global arbitration body's board of governors to expand its jurisdiction to include domestic disputes involving foreign investors. China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (Cietac) will be empowered to hear disputes involving foreign-invested Chinese legal entities from Monday, following a decision last week by Cietac's parent, the China Chamber of International Commerce. That would include all mainland-based overseas funded joint ventures and wholly owned foreign firms. Cietac formerly heard disputes only arising from international or foreign-related economic and trade transactions. 'The decision has far-reaching implications for Cietac,' said Baker & McKenzie attorney and Cietac arbitrator Michael Moser. 'Many of the new sorts of investment vehicles that we now see in China, such as build-operate-transfer projects and holding companies, will be able to provide for Cietac arbitration in their contracts and will not be forced to choose between Chinese courts and domestic arbitration bodies.' he said. Other approved revisions to Cietac's rules provide participants greater flexibility in determining the rules and venue of arbitration hearings, bringing the commission more in line with international practices. While Cietac's case load grew to more than 1,000 from 37 between 1985 and 1995, during the past two years the commission's caseload has fallen to about 900 a year.