The South and Alternative Models of Trade and Investment Regulation – Australia, China and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

44 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2015

See all articles by Vivienne Bath

Vivienne Bath

The University of Sydney - Faculty of Law

Date Written: August 13, 2015


After a relatively slow beginning, the countries of East and South-East Asia, including Australia and New Zealand, have greatly expanded their network of bilateral and pluri-lateral regional agreements dealing with investment and trade in the form both of bilateral investment agreements and free trade agreements. Currently, the ASEAN states and its six main partners, the developing countries of China, Korea and India, and the developed countries of Japan, Australia and New Zealand, are negotiating a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is intended to cover trade in goods and services, investment, competition, intellectual property and a range of other issues. At the same time, countries such as Australia and China are considered by the OECD to maintain highly restrictive investment regimes. Australia, which is both a capital exporting and importing state, now has FTAs with investment provisions with ASEAN, Japan and Korea and hopes to finalize its agreements with China towards the end of 2015. Although Australia cannot be placed in the category of a Southern country, its middle-level economy, and its role as a recipient of capital investment, presents some rather different issues to the developing-developed country analysis. China, although a developing country, is a world leader in both inbound and outbound investment, and the expansion of its investments in Asia and elsewhere presents a number of issues for its neighbors and for its own policies. This paper will focus on Australian and Chinese investment in the context of developments in the region and explore the legal tools that these two countries undertake, both at the international and the national levels, to implement their own development policies, particularly in the context of investment.

Keywords: Australia, China, Free Trade Agreements, South-South, trade, investment, FDI, investment regulation, regional agreements, national regulation

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33

Suggested Citation

Bath, Vivienne, The South and Alternative Models of Trade and Investment Regulation – Australia, China and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (August 13, 2015). Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 15/68, Available at SSRN: or

Vivienne Bath (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006

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