SINCE its formation 40 years ago, the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission has made significant achievements and established a good reputation abroad. As an adviser of the commission, I am pleased with what it has achieved and am confident of its future development. However, we have to appreciate that the commission has undergone reforms for only 15 years, in spite of its long history. During the past 15 years, political and economic situations both in China and abroad have gone through substantial changes. In this rapidly changing world, there is still much room for the commission to improve and function. In my opinion, the commission's immediate task is to enlarge its team and enhance the team's working standard in order to cater to the new environment. If arbitrators lack the required quality, or there are not enough arbitrators, this will stall progress in assessing cases, leading to a pile-up. Many of the arbitrators are working part-time. Their full-time jobs have kept them busy, while the workload of arbitration has occupied the bulk of their time and energy, because they have to study materials and attend discussions. Therefore, the commission has to employ full-time arbitrators who are knowledgeable about the arbitration process. Quality remains the key criterion in guaranteeing the standard of arbitrators. Not only should Chinese arbitrators be recruited, candidates from overseas and Hong Kong should be considered. The participation of foreign arbitrators will not only enhance the quality of arbitration, but also improve efficiency. Moreover, the participation of foreigners will be beneficial in improving the capabilities of domestic arbitrators through their co-operation with overseas partners. This is one of the ways of raising the standard of mainland arbitrators. In dealing with arbitration of international economic and trade issues, the commission will sometimes come across some big problems. It should seek the advice of professionals and international arbitration organisations in such circumstances. The exchange of experience and mutual discussions among arbitrators are highly important. The commission should continue to work on these aspects of arbitration in the future. In accordance with international practices, arbitrators should work independently and impartially. The Chinese arbitration commission has abided by these rules, which are treated as the industry's norms. Arbitrators should be immune to the influence of the environment when they process cases. They should also keep away from any conflict of interests. But what is more important is that it is necessary to fix the principles and procedures of arbitration within a legal framework. Formulation of the law is an important part of this. We hope the laws can be announced as soon as possible. Thereafter, the commission can work under a legal regulatory framework and its function can be further utilised. The commission also has to improve its management. When an insufficient number of arbitrators deals with too many cases, the strengthening of management will help it improve efficiency and clear backlogs. Measures include perfecting the commission's computer system, strengthening the management of computer links and establishing a database and a pool of arbitrating and professional talent. Professor Li Yining is head of Beijing University's department ofeconomics and management and is a standing committee member of the National People's Congress.