The “One Belt One Road” strategy – the role of private international law in combatting and strengthening anti-corruption standards transnationally

Thomas John, Rishi Gulati

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

China’s “One Belt One Road” strategy (OBOR), first announced by President Xi Jinping in September and October 2013, and developed further since, is an ambiguous project by the People’s Republic of China, aimed at asserting and strengthening its position within world trade and affairs. With its focus on establishing a cohesive trade zone, including through collaboration among more than 60 nations spanning primarily Asia and Europe, but also five in Oceania and East Africa, the strategy has been identified as an attempt to rebalance China’s position after the conclusion of the Western-centric trade pacts Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Yet with those trade pacts being an indicator of rising protectionist tendencies among Western powers, the OBOR strategy also seems to be testament of the People’s Republic of China’s increasing global ambitions, including in the area of, and through, trade and trade relations.

With increased trade activities fostered by the OBOR strategy, it is appropriate to foresee that strengthening anti-corruption frameworks will take a centre stage. With the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank expected to provide loans and other forms of funding for the building of future infrastructure projects that are part of the OBOR strategy, the checks and balances to prevent the misuse of any funds, and the regulatory sanctioning of cross-border corruption cases, will require consideration.

And yet, questions surrounding this issue are vexed and include what anti-corruption standards are to be put into place, who monitors with such standards, what civil and criminal consequences are of breaches of existing and future anti-corruption standards, and how sanctions can be enforced across borders. At their core, all these are matters relevant to issues of jurisdiction, forum, and enforcement, bringing into sharp focus the role of private international law (PIL), not only in terms of its – perhaps more traditional – coordinative and allocative functions, including with respect to the actions of international financial institutions, but also amongst regulatory agencies of those States who decide to take part in the OBOR strategy.

It is these matters that this chapter is fundamentally concerned with, by exploring to what extent the private international law is, in fact, capable in dealing with coordinating anti-corruption rules and standards internationally. While traditional elements of private international law, including questions of jurisdiction, applicable law, and enforcement, and in particular the clarification and unification of the rules and principles of private international law, including through fora such as the Hague Conference on Private International Law, will feature, the thrust of the chapter is on arguing pro-strengthening the cooperation among States that participate in the OBOR strategy.

By using the issue of cooperation as an example, the chapter will argue that the private international law can play a part in this regard, expanding traditional notions of cross-border cooperation. In doing so, this chapter suggests that the private international law can, and needs to, play a greater role than just to provide a bridge between jurisdictions, including as a global governance and regulatory framework that is not merely allocative, but regulates substance, including through robust (regulatory) enforcement regimes. This chapter will also argue that the OBOR strategy will benefit from looking beyond regional or supra-regional approaches, but using a strong global viewpoint. Such viewpoint would allow the OBOR strategy to expand more seamlessly in the future, including by integrating further States and regions, not initially intended to be covered by this Chinese initiative.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChina's One Belt One Road Initiative and Private International Law
EditorsPoomintr Sooksripaisarnkit, Sai Ramani Garimella
Chapter10
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781315121963
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2018

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