07 November 2013

China-Australia FDI

Two papers on Australia, China and foreign direct investment.

'Navigating Adroitly: China's Interaction with the Global Trade, Investment and Financial Regimes' (UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2013-68) by Ross P Buckley and Weihuan Zhou explores
who has most skilfully used the rules of the global economic regime — China, or the nations whose companies invest in her? We first analyse China’s adoption and implementation of WTO commitments in the auto industry and the cultural goods sector. We then consider the liberalisation of China’s foreign direct investment (FDI) scheme and China’s use of FDI as a vehicle to acquire foreign technology, while also restricting FDI to protect the domestic banking sector. Finally, we analyse China’s engagement with the international financial regime, particularly its exchange rate policy, and whether this too represents a strategic implementation of reforms. Based on these four case studies, we conclude that while the West initially dictated the terms of China’s interaction with the global economic system, over time China has deftly engaged with global rules so as to promote its own national interests. 
 'China and Foreign Direct Investment: Does Distance Lend Enchantment to the View?' by Leon Trakman in (2013) Chinese Journal of Comparative Law 1 focuses
on international investment law relating to China in general and to investor-state arbitration in particular. It has six key goals. First, it explores the extent to which China is subject to investor-state arbitration claims by inbound investors. Second, it considers the extent to which China’s investment treaty partners are involved in claims brought by outbound Chinese investors. Third, it discusses the significance of these two kinds of claims. Fourth, it evaluates the paucity of foreign direct investor claims against China, contrasted with growing claims by outbound Chinese investors against China’s treaty partner states. Fifth, it evaluates the assertion that China has failed to adequately liberalize its investment treaties and practices and has accorded limited protection to foreign direct investors. In responding to this critique, it emphasizes China’s history as a developing state with a struggling economy, its past dependence on Western colonial powers and its limited economic capacity, and its recent meteoric rise to being the largest inbound investor destination and the fifth largest outbound investor state. Sixth, the article critiques the assertion that China ought to liberalize its investment law and practice in the tradition of the West. In exploring this issue, it notes that the self-same Western liberal powers that promoted investment liberalization in past decades have increasingly limited such liberalization to protect their vulnerable economics from foreign investment. The article also questions whether China ought to be bound by free market norms that suited the West in the past century but may not suit China in the twenty-first century.