China and Foreign Direct Investment: Looking Ahead

In Wenhua Shan and Qiao Liu, China and International Dispute Resolution (Brill, 2016)

UNSW Law Research Paper No. 18-14

67 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2018

See all articles by Leon Trakman

Leon Trakman

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 1, 2018


China is responsible for huge inbound and outbound foreign investment, guided by a sophisticated international investment treaty program. According to a World Bank Report on the New Global Economy published in May 2011, by 2025, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea and Russia will be responsible for more than half of the global growth in investment. A further Special Report of the Asia Society indicates that foreign direct investment (‘FDI’) from China to the USA is more than doubling annually. China’s projected investment is expected to reach close to 2 trillion USD by 2020. China’s investments are diverse and global. It is a net importer of, among other products, oil, gas, and coal. It is investing significantly in Africa, Asia and South America, to meet its energy supply needs. China’s growth as an importer and exporter of FDI in the last two decades is reflected in a pattern of investment practices. It often negotiates investment treaties on a one to one basis with other countries. It focuses increasingly on investment quality, rather than investment quantity; and it is concerned about outbound not only inbound investments, such as the investments by state owned enterprises abroad.

As a result, China has concluded over 130 BITs to date. Among these are 26 BITS with African countries including among others, Ghana, Tunisia, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Mozambique and Mali. China also has BITs with various Western countries, notably with Germany, concluded in 2004. It concluded nine new free trade agreements in the last decade, with others under negotiation. China is currently engaged in negotiations with the Gulf Cooperation Council, ASEAN, Singapore, Iceland, Norway, the South African Customs Union and Closer Economic Partnership Arrangements’ with Hong Kong and Macao. China recently entered into an investment agreement with Korea and Japan, as well as with Canada. It is negotiating further agreements, with Australia, Turkey and Chile, which are not yet signed. Other FTAs with India and Switzerland are under consideration.

Keywords: foreign direct investment, World Bank Report, New Global Economy, BIT, FTA, China, bilateral investment agreements

Suggested Citation

Trakman, Leon, China and Foreign Direct Investment: Looking Ahead (January 1, 2018). In Wenhua Shan and Qiao Liu, China and International Dispute Resolution (Brill, 2016), UNSW Law Research Paper No. 18-14, Available at SSRN: or

Leon Trakman (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052

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