From Cautious Interaction to Mature Influence: China's Evolving Engagement with the International Investment Regime
As the Belt and Road Initiative expands the global footprint of Chinese firms, Beijing increasingly relies on international law to protect investments overseas. How and why has China's engagement with the international investment regime evolved over the past four decades? This article addresses these questions by examining the central component of the international investment regime: bilateral investment treaties (BITs). Through analyzing China's BIT practice and the security exceptions in 1,173 BITs concluded by both China as well as its treaty partners, this article provides evidence of changing Chinese engagement, from cautious interaction (1978–1991) to active participation (1992–1997), committed implementation (1998–2012), and mature influence (2013–present). As Beijing accepted, applied, and shaped the rules and norms of the BIT system, China's treaty practice co-evolved with the international investment regime. A co-evolutionary approach illuminates why—and how—state behaviour and international orders change over time.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: March 1, 2020
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- Pacific Affairs is a peer-reviewed, independent, and interdisciplinary scholarly journal focusing on important current political, economic and social issues throughout Asia and the Pacific. Each issue contains approximately five new articles and 40-50 book reviews. Published continuously as a quarterly since 1928 under the same name, it is the oldest English-language journal with a focus on Asia and the Pacific. It enjoys an international reputation based on the high quality of articles, and its extensive book reviews section.
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