By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearPolicy
A new grant released from the Agency for International Development allocates $2.5 million dollars to “manage activities that promote the utilization of commercial and investment Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Vietnam to improve rule of law, support judicial reform, and enhance the business environment for both local and international businesses.”
Alternative dispute resolution refers to techniques of settling disagreements outside of the judicial system. In the U.S., it typically refers to arbitration, where both parties agree to have a neutral third party make a binding decision, or mediation, where a neutral third party helps guide the two parties in conflict to a non-binding mutually agreeable resolution.
First, one has to wonder if this is even a problem that needs to be solved. Vietnam is about average for judicial corruption, so while there’s room for improvement, it doesn’t seem like the most pressing issue. Another question is, if this program is such a good investment for Vietnam, why wouldn’t the Vietnam government sponsor it?
What, really, are your tax dollars funding? The grant delineates three ambiguous approaches:
- Support Vietnam’s ADR legislation reforms to remove legislation and enforcement challenges
- Enhance ADR professional skills and capacity of local ADR actors to improve enforceability and thus gaining more trust to the system
- Enhance awareness about ADR among current and future businesses especially local enterprises
Confused? You’re not alone. The grant notice provides no concrete explanation.
When America faces supply chain shortages, lack of food security, poverty, and homelessness, why are millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars going toward strengthening Vietnamese arbitration infrastructure?
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