The Political Economy of Chinese Bilateral Investment Treaty Policy
Forthcoming in Chinese Journal of Comparative Law
18 Pages Posted: 11 May 2017
Date Written: May 10, 2017
Among the most significant developments in international investment law and policy in the past decade has been China’s adoption of a new model of bilateral investment treaty that embraces disciplines commonly found elsewhere. This has been celebrated by some scholars as heralding the arrival of a universal model for investment protection that will be transformative of Chinese domestic policy. Others have expressed skepticism that Chinese policy portends liberalization of the Chinese economy. Nor does it indicate that China has embraced neo-liberal norms requiring the state to recede from controlling the levers of economic power. Both sides purport to derive their readings from shifts in Chinese investment policy and internal legislative change. We propose another reading derived from shifts in Chinese Communist Party leadership and the Party’s perception of what is required to guarantee its stability and continued dominance. The object is to understand Chinese BIT policy as a product of the complex and interacting influences reflected in debates within the CCP. By examining four main eras in which China BIT policy has evolved, we propose bringing the Party back into discussions about investment treaty policy.
Keywords: Investment treaties, international law, China, political economy
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