The First "Belt and Road Initiative Simulation Competition" was held on June 27, 2018 in Shanghai, China. Students from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics Law School and Deakin Law School participated in the competition. Jincheng Tongda and Neal Law Firm sponsored the event.
A Sample Case
The BRI Simulation works through the issues of the South Gem Port. South Gem is the major town in the southern tip of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Government would like to build up its port in order to boost the development of the region of South Gem and increase economic trade within the region. The Port of South Gem is of great value to international maritime routes as it is perfectly located in the middle of the route via which the oil from the Middle East is transported to East Asia. It has desirable geographical conditions for building a deep-water port and is the nearest port to the main maritime route across the Indian Ocean. Once built, the Port of South Gem can accommodate ships at the level of five hundred thousand tons and will serve as a major port in the Indian Ocean. The main issues of the case include invesment and the financial structure of the project, environmental compliance, employment and welfare, and how to balance regional powers and incorporate regional economies into the project.
The Structure to the Simulation
The simulation contains four teams representing four parties in the case. Each party has their own motives and objectives and each of them has three - five delegates.
Teams will be given key documents about the case which will contain information on the situation, the stakeholders involved, sets of confidential instructions, relevant maps, and other reference documents. Confidential instructions are considered protected documents for their team delegation regarding the round of negotiations and should be handled as such.
Each team should have an advisor to assist them as they work through the process. The team must appoint a team Communicator, who is the sole point of contact with the Secretary of the simulation, and responsible for scheduling and processing ad hoc negotiation requests, sending/receiving press releases, team-to-team communication, and diplomatic communiqués.
There is a Secretary in each simulation, he or she is responsible for collecting proposals, exchanging information among teams, facilitating negotiations, releasing new findings, and supervising the process to be conducted within the established schedule.
The Simulation includes three crucial phases: the writing of the opening statement, formal negotiation, and informal negotiation. During the simulation, all teams will meet for three hours over the course of two ceremonies and three rounds: opening ceremony, first round, second round, final round and the closing ceremony. Each team may use the rest of time during the competition to prepare oral argument and proposal.
The writing of the opening statement and the final resolution requires participants’ full understanding of the case scenario and each parties’ interests and propositions. The goal of the negotiation is to reach the best balance among all parties.
This type of competition is performed under the confines of a strict schedule. The schedule helps to replicate the formality within negotiations take place, and allows the parties involved time to negotiate issues, review, evaluate, and adjust negotiation strategies, and schedule and respond to negotiation requests. The strict adherence and enforcement of the schedule may induce some level of frustration from the participants, but this is not an unrealistic expectation.