China’s ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative : Mapping the World Trade Normative and Strategic Implications

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-185
Journal / PublicationJournal of World Trade
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that he wanted to resurrect the legendary Silk Road; he proposed a titanic project to build hundreds of roads, bridges, and railroads to connect China and Europe. In China, the government also speaks of the ‘Belt and Road initiative’ (One Belt, One Road - abbreviated OBOR) to describe the project that will span more than 50 years. OBOR is President Xi Jinping’s most important project and it marks a radical change in China’s foreign policy as it constitutes a new economic model that also aims to strengthen China’s position as an economic superpower. Despite its major impact on international trade and investment, OBOR does not belong to present-day categories of international pacts and treaties. For the first time in its modern history, China is attempting to export its development model, that is, China is relying on massive investment in infrastructure, roads, ports, and railways, at home and abroad, to accelerate industrial development throughout the region. At a time when the globalization of the economy is tilting the balance towards the East, OBOR will redistribute the maps of trade and investment to an extent which this Article assesses.