With the increase in the volume of foreign economic activity within the Russian Federation came significant expansion in the scope and number of commercial disputes between Russian and Western companies. The following factors may account for the increase in the volume of commercial disputes: (i) the rapidly changing, often chaotic state of the Russian legal system; (ii) the creation of new Russian enterprises with limited experience in the practices of foreign trade; and (iii) severe payment problems that many Russian companies experience with respect to hard currency.
Traditionally, the most common choice of forum for U.S.-Soviet or U.S.-Russian arbitration has been the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. In 1977, the American Arbitration Association and the U.S.S.R. Chamber of Commerce and Industry proposed a model arbitration clause to be included in contracts between U.S. and Soviet entities providing for arbitration at the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. The model clause, in its current version, is entitled "Optional Arbitration Clause for Use in Contracts in U.S.A.-Russian Trade and Investment - 1992" (Optional Clause"). It has served as a useful provision to the present time. The Optional Clause provides for final and binding arbitration at the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce in accordance with United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) arbitration rules.