China’s Approach to the Belt and Road Initiative

Journal of International Economic Law, Volume 22, 2019 (Forthcoming)

UNSW Law Research Paper No. 18-82

33 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2018

See all articles by Heng Wang

Heng Wang

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

Date Written: May 20, 2018

Abstract

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is China’s most significant strategic move for engagement with its partners following its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). As a new form of regional multilateralism, the BRI is a hub-and-spoke network with China as the hub. This paper analyses China’s approach to the BRI from a legal perspective, focusing on two questions: first, is there an identifiable approach that China adopts in the BRI context; and second, what is the essence that underlies this project? The article argues that China’s approach to the BRI has three primary qualities: it is (i) less-institutionally focused; (ii) non-treaty-based; and (iii) proactive rather than reactive. However, the stability of these characteristics across different contexts should not be exaggerated, since China chiefly employs a “middle-of-the-road” strategy in engaging with the BRI. Flexibility is arguably the essence of China’s approach, and reflects the government’s adaptive attitude. Such a path not only diverges from China’s engagement with the WTO, but also could constitute a kind of Chinese counter-model to deep trade agreements pursued by developed economies.

Keywords: The Belt and Road Initiative, approach, flexibility, regional multilateralism

Suggested Citation

Wang, Heng, China’s Approach to the Belt and Road Initiative (May 20, 2018). Journal of International Economic Law, Volume 22, 2019 (Forthcoming); UNSW Law Research Paper No. 18-82. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3283660

Heng Wang (Contact Author)

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

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia
+61 2 9385 9472 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.unsw.edu.au/profile/heng-wang

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