Tulane Law School Professor Guiguo Wang, a leading authority on international trade and economic law, visited Oxford University on June 1 to discuss ways in which China’s “Belt and Road” trade initiative might spur new forms of international legal cooperation.
In a lecture at Oxford’s China Centre in St. Hugh’s College, Wang outlined possible new mechanisms for resolving disputes between trade partners that will inevitably arise from China’s ambitious development and trade plan. China’s Belt and Road Initiative aims to build closer economic ties with countries spanning the historic Silk Road trade route reaching from China to Europe and a corresponding maritime route threading from China’s Pacific ports through the Indian Ocean and Red Sea to the Mediterranean ports of Europe.
In addition to more open trade policies, the initiative contemplates $150 billion annually in Chinese investments in infrastructure projects in the 68 cooperating nations. While the Belt and Road Initiative aims to promote greater economic cooperation with China, it inevitably will produce disputes among parties participating in the infrastructure and trade projects, requiring new levels of legal cooperation to resolve them.
Wang has emerged as the world’s leading scholar examining the implications of the Belt and Road Initiative for international dispute resolution. In 2016, he edited two books on the topic, one focused on implications of international law for the initiative and one focused on prospects for legal dispute mechanisms. In 2015 and 2016, he organized and led international academic conferences in Hangzhou, co-sponsored by Zhejiang, Tulane and Yale law schools, dedicated to legal aspects of the initiative.
“The Belt and Road Initiative has generated much excitement worldwide for the reason that it is in compliance with the world trend of globalization,” Wang said.
The initiative has broader strategic significance because it has emerged as a centerpiece of President Xi Jinping’s expansionist foreign policy just as President Trump has led the United States to abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an alternative trade pact linking a dozen countries from the Americas to Asia and the South Pacific.
Wang joined Tulane Law’s faculty in 2014 from City University of Hong Kong, where he was law school dean. At Tulane, he is a co-director of the Eason Weinmann Center for International and Comparative Law and has played a key role in extending Tulane Law’s historic leadership in comparative law to China and elsewhere in Asia.