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Public Lecture

China’s "Law and Development" Moment? Outbound Capital, Risk, and Order

Matthew Erie (Oxford University) 

We live in unexpected times: nonliberal governments promote free trade while democratic ones tout “sovereignty.” China’s role in economic globalization has been apparent since the late 1990s and explicitly so since Xi Jinping announced China as the defender of globalization at Davos in 2017. The focus of this talk is the role of law in China’s new globalism. Why law? In the near future, China is expected to be one of the world’s largest capital exporters. Whereas China continues to invest in post-industrial Western economies to acquire technologies, a portion of its investments is directed at some of the weakest states in the world. It is in such economies where the Chinese footprint may be the deepest. Law is traditionally one instrument by which a home state protects its assets in a host state. The experience of Euro-American home states was to either a) directly intervene in host state legal systems or b) avoid domestic law by relying on investment treaties. China, a country whose legal system is about 40 years young, avoids the former and pursues a modified version of the latter. More specifically, the Chinese endorse forms of transnational law to avoid the pitfalls of ‘bad’ domestic law in host states, which entails both institution-building and network-formation within and beyond China’s borders. This talk will lay the conceptual grounds for a Chinese approach to ‘law and development’, one that occurs at the intersection of dreams of sinocentric legal globalization, on the one hand, and corporate practices that suggest a more complicated view of building on existing legal infrastructures, on the other hand.



09th of July 2019, 16:00-17:30h 



University and City Library of Cologne

3rd floor, Room BVI

Kerpener Str. 20 (Entrance)

50937 Cologne 



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