Wednesday, February 01, 2017

TDM Call for Papers: Special issue on "China's One Belt, One Road: Economic Changes, Power Shifts and Prospects / Consequences for the World or Arbitration"

It is my great pleasure to pass along the following call for contributions.  The issue will certainly be timely and important:

27 January 2017

Prof. Julien Chaisse, Prof. Manjiao Chi, Dr. Jędrzej Górski, Dr. Ahmad Manzoor, and Ms. Teresa Cheng will be editing a Special Issue of Transnational Dispute Management (TDM, ISSN 1875-4120, on the legal aspects of the One Belt One Road initiative ('OBOR').

The One Belt One Road initiative has been the Chinese development strategy aiming at the economic integration of Eurasia and the growth of China's Western Provinces, largely through infrastructural and transportation projects. OBOR's core idea has been to revive ancient land-trade routes in the framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt project ('SREB') supported by the Twenty-first Century Maritime Silk Road ('21MSR') as proposed by Xi Jinping in Autumn 2013 first in Kazakhstan about the SREB, and subsequently in Indonesia with regard to the 21MSR. In addition, the OBOR/SREB also includes regional platforms of co-operation, particularly the '16+1 Group' gathering China and Central and Eastern European countries which was established in April 2012 in Warsaw, that is over a year ahead of the announcement of the OBOR.

The OBOR has been pictured as a mostly geopolitical project with potentially far-reaching economic ramifications. Thus, the OBOR has so far attracted massive attention from commentators and scholars focusing on politics, international relations and economics. However, for the time being, the OBOR is still at the very initial phase of realisation and its success essentially depends on the formation of efficient institutional and regulatory environment along OBOR's trade routes.

The co-editors invite you to explore the legal dimensions of the controversy surrounding the TPP by contributing to this special edition with unpublished or previously published articles, conference papers, research papers and case studies addressing the OBOR and corresponding issues.

For example, the following topics raise interesting points for discussion:

Institutional Framework of the OBOR.
--What are the potential issues with the legal form/structure, ownership, capitalisation, decision-making process, and governance of China-led institutions meant to finance OBOR-related projects, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank ('AIIB'), the New Development Bank ('NDB'), the New Silk Road Fund ('NSRF'), and the China Investment Corporation ('CIC')?
--Challenges to the OBOR transit routes arising out of inter-regional and international rivalries
--How do these institutions compare with the solutions commonly accepted in the existing system of development aid (under the World Bank's leadership) and by sovereign wealth funds of other countries?
--Where do Chinese state-owned commercial banks stand in this landscape?
--What are the distinctive features (compared with Western development-aid institutions), if any, of conditions of financing by OBOR-related institutions, such as governing law and terms and conditions of loans or procurement-rules related to financed projects?
--How is sustainability integrated into operations of such institutions including labour right, social rights, protection against expropriations, protection of indigenous peoples. How does it compare with existing development aid institutions?
--Development on a specific AIIB framework/institution to handle investment disputes.
--What are the potential issues with the settlement of disputes, including disputes between:
-stakeholders in financing institutions,
-financing institutions and borrowers,
-foreign contractors/suppliers/service-providers and borrower's procuring agencies?

Expansion of public and private investment in Eurasia.
--Current developments/negotiations on bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) investment chapters between China and countries situated along OBOR routes.
--Role of the protection of state-owned enterprise as well as sovereign wealth funds in such negotiations.
--Current state of market access for foreign investment in transportation infrastructure (railways, toll roads, intermodal terminals, etc.) along the OBOR routes, and the prospects for liberalisation.
--Will Chinese investors/multinationals be trendsetters or adjust to local conditions of terms of corporate governance, labour standards, environmental protection and generally in terms sustainability?
--Review of pending and decided investor-state disputes and prospects for investor-state arbitration.

Legal Challenges to trade along the OBOR routes.
--What are current problems of trade facilitation and reduction of non-tariff-barriers to trade along the OBOR routes, such as:
-reduction of custom clearance procedures (for example the case of Framework Agreement on Cooperation in Facilitating Customs Clearance Among the Chinese, Hungarian, Serbian and Macedonian Customs in Budapest concluded in 2016),
-prospects for the liberalisation of the provision of land-transportation-services within EEA, between Russia/EEA and the EU, or between Russia/EEA and China.
-taxation of transportation services along OBOR routes.
--How can the new transit regime be harmonized with any bilateral and sub regional agreements that might exit along the OBOR routes?
--What are the current issues in the lex mercatoria used along the OBOR routes, particularly in railway truck and multimodal transportation, such as:
-the choice of law and forum,
-choice of instruments securing the repayment of trade credit (bank guarantees, letters of credit, any other?),
-insurance of transport across several countries.
--Are there any obstacles to dispute settlement along OBOR routes, including:
-intergovernmental dimension, for example long-lasting Russia's disputes with Central European Countries over truck permits), and
-international private law dimension, i.e. the recognition and enforcement of foreign courts decisions and arbitration awards.
--What public or private dispute resolution systems will form part of the trade and investment transactions encouraged by OBOR? Will OBOR itself develop any new dispute resolution schemes or will OBOR-related transactions rely on existing mechanisms for dispute resolution?

Case Studies.
--What problems have so far been faced by governments, financing institutions, investors, and/or governmental agencies and their contractors during the realisation of first OBOR-related projects? For example, case studies can cover:
-Projects aiming at connecting ports in the Mediterranean (such as Piraeus in Greece and Durres in Albania) with the rest of Europe, including:
*Serbo-Hungarian high speed railway-connection,
*Section of the European motorway XI bridging Montenegro with Serbia,
*Banja Luka-Split motorway bridging Bosnia and Herzegovina with Croatia, or
*Arbër Highway bridging Albania with Macedonia.
-Developments in Russia's/ EEU's railway network including:
*core route from China across Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus to Poland,
*planned Moscow - Kazan high-speed-train-connection (with possible connection with *Chinese high-speed-trains network and possible extension Beijing),
*Russia-Mongolia-China railway connection, or
*planned Hunchun-Vladivostok railway connection.
-Already operating railway lines such as Chengdu-£ód¿ or Chongqing-Duisburg, Yiwu-Madrid or Yiwu-Tehran.
-Road-development-projects in Central Asia including for example Kazakhstan-Center -South-Road-Corridor-Project and the Dushanbe-Uzbekistan-Border-Road-Improvement-Project.
-China-Pakistan economic corridor, including the port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea to North-West China, or the Pakistan M-4 National Motorway project.
-Anaklia Port Project in Georgia.
-Prospects for the Thai Canal (also known as the Kra Canal or the Kra Isthmus Canal) bridging the Gulf of Thailand with the Andaman Sea.
--Have any disputes already arisen related to the realisation of such projects?

Guest Editors

Prof. Julien Chaisse
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Contact info here

Prof. Manjiao Chi
Xiamen University
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Contact info here

Dr. Jędrzej Górski
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Contact info here

Dr. Ahmad Manzoor
World Trade Advisors
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Contact info here

Teresa Cheng
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Contact info here

Time line

Proposals or papers should be submitted to Jêdrzej Górski - contact information here - and copied to Proposal (abstracts) shall be submitted until 30 March 2017, and full papers until 30 June 2017.

Feel free to circulate this call for papers amongst friends, colleagues and other people who you think may have an interest in this topic.

Papers shall conform to submission guidelines available at: (more information available upon request)

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