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Zongyao (Eric) Li

Senior Associate

Eric Li represents and advises companies, States and State-owned entities in commercial and investment treaty arbitrations.

He has acted on arbitrations conducted under the auspices of major arbitration rules, including ICSID, ICC, SIAC, HKIAC, CIETAC and UNCITRAL. The matters he has worked on span over various sectors, including construction, energy, telecommunications, real estate, technology, private equity and finance. He also acts as tribunal secretary in arbitration proceedings.

Eric is a Research Fellow at the Center for International Economic Law and Policy, University of International Business and Economics (UIBE). In May 2023, he obtained the master of laws degree from New York University as a Hauser Global Scholar and was awarded for distinction in his program.


Representative matters

Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Claimant in an ICSID arbitration against the Kingdom of Sweden (ICSID Case No. ARB/22/2). The dispute relates to Sweden’s ban of Huawei’s equipment from 5G infrastructures in Sweden and the claims are brought under the China-Sweden bilateral investment treaty.

An international joint venture in an ICC arbitration in Paris brought by a European contractor. The dispute concerns the construction of a gas processing facility in Africa. The law of the country of the project applies.

A U.S. technology company and its European subsidiary, Claimants in a HKIAC arbitration in Hong Kong against a Chinese technology company. The dispute arises from the breach of a software license and maintenance agreement. The law of California applies.

The People’s Republic of China in an ICSID arbitration brought by Hela Schwarz GmbH (ICSID Case No. ARB/17/19). The claims are brought under the China-Germany bilateral investment treaty.

A Pakistani Independent Power Producer (IPP) in an ICC arbitration in Singapore against a Pakistani State-owned entity. The dispute arises from Power Purchase Agreements and is governed by English law.

A Chinese State-owned telecommunication provider, Respondent in SIAC arbitration in Hong Kong. The dispute arose from a long-term services agreement. Singapore law applied.

Ukraine, Respondent in an SCC arbitration in Stockholm brought by VEB.RF. The dispute relates to sanctions and other measures allegedly targeting Russian banks in Ukraine after 2014. The claims are brought under the 1998 Ukraine-Russia bilateral investment treaty.

An international joint venture in an ICC emergency arbitration in Paris brought by a European contractor in relation to the construction of a gas processing facility in Africa. The law of the Respondent’s State applied.

The subsidiary of an Asian State-owned company in the energy sector, Respondent in two parallel ICC arbitrations in Singapore initiated by its Asian co-shareholder and its parent company. The dispute arose from two agreements relating to the development of an oil storage facility and related port facilities in Asia. English law and the law of the Claimants’ State applied.

The Australian subsidiary of a Chinese company, Claimant in a CIETAC arbitration in Beijing against an Australian company. The dispute concerned the supply of complex mining equipment. Chinese law applied.

Pro bono

Advising an asylum seeker before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Advising victims of the Khmer Rouge regime before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, a United Nations-supported tribunal set up to bring to trial senior leaders of the regime led by Pol Pot in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979.

Published Work

  • Author, (2022) “Arbitral Tribunal’s Jurisdiction in Chinese Investment Treaties with the Belt and Road Countries: A Bumpy Road?”, 55 NYU Journal of International & Politics 193
  • Co-author, (2022) “Emergency Arbitration in Mainland China: A New Dawn?”, 24 Asian Dispute Review 134
  • Co-author, (2021) “China’s Foreign Investment Complaint Mechanism: A New Beginning of Foreign Investment Governance Reform,” Columbia FDI Perspectives No. 308
  • Co-author, (2021) “Administrative Review Provisions in Chinese Investment Treaties: ‘Gilding the Lily’,” 12(1) Journal of International Dispute Settlement 125

Speaking Engagements

  • Moderator, “A Look into the Future of International Arbitration”, NYU International Arbitration Association and NYU Latin American Arbitration Society, April 2023
  • Speaker, “The arbitration agreement: its significance, validity, and enforceability”, Center for International Investment and Commercial Arbitration, March 2022
  • Speaker, “Investment Arbitrations involving Chinese Parties”, Singapore International Dispute Resolution Academy, August 2021

Leadership Positions And Professional Affiliations

  • Research Fellow, Center for International Economic Law and Policy, University of International Business and Economics

  • Member, Young and International Group, International Centre for Dispute Resolution 



New York

People’s Republic of China (non-practicing)


L.L.M., New York University (Hauser Global Scholar)

L.L.M., Xiamen University

L.LB., Xiamen University


English, Mandarin Chinese
A&O Shearman was formed on May 1, 2024 by the combination of Shearman & Sterling LLP and Allen & Overy LLP and their respective affiliates (the legacy firms). Any matters referred to above may include matters undertaken by one or more of the legacy firms rather than A&O Shearman.