Chinese Puzzle : Anatomy of the (Invisible) Belt and Road Investment Treaty

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

5 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-269
Journal / PublicationJournal of International Economic Law
Issue number1
Online published13 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


This article makes a major contribution to the emerging Belt and Road Initiative scholarship (and international economic law) by highlighting that (i) China’s existing investment treaty network along the Belt and Road is dated, (ii) many or most of those treaties include Most Favored Nation provisions, (iii) these treaties have hitherto been subject to a static three generations analysis which does not reflect the reality, and (iv) there is significant authority supporting the use of the Most Favored Nation provisions by Chinese investors to upgrade the Belt and Road Initiative investment treaty network. This article demonstrates that an investment treaty for the Belt and Road Initiative already exists via the Most Favored Nation clause present in China’s bilateral investment treaties. Moreover, the article further identifies that China’s treaty network is unique (by being so extensive) and assesses the potential for investment claims in light of Belt and Road Initiative jurisdictions past involvements in Investor–State Dispute Settlement, and by doing so, the article sheds a new light on the predicted increased use of such procedure by Chinese investors.