Singapore

Asia-Pacific FDI Forum III

Past Events

In January 2014, the European Union (EU) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) had formally launched negotiations on a bilateral treaty which would address the promotion and protection of investment between the two nations. The Asia-Pacific FDI Forum III, which was held in 2017, anticipated the forthcoming negotiations and examined the legal positions from which the parties began their negotiations.

The negotiation of a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) between China and the EU was a watershed event in global investment treaty practice, which is apparent from the size and importance of the China-EU bilateral investment relationship, the leading role played by both the parties in the global spread of BITs and the issues raised and lessons drawn from the PRC-EU case. Owing to these factors, this treaty has ramifications well beyond China and Europe. In the context of this global fragmentation, a BIT between China and the EU was a seminal event in global investment treaty practice. The BIT between China and the EU covered the investment activity of two billion people, easily making it one of the most influential international investment treaties in the world. Concluding such a treaty required coordination and agreement among the positions of twenty-eight states of differing legal, cultural, political, and economic traditions.

The FDI Forum investigated and compared the PRC’s fast-evolving investment-treaty-making practice with the emerging position of the EU. For instance, the EU concluded three important treaties regulating, among other things, foreign investment (namely with Canada, Singapore, and Vietnam) while China garnered increasing attention through its introduction of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) Initiative in 2013, which was aimed at strengthening its ‘Go global’  policy by opening new markets and increasing the value of cross-border business.

The main objectives of the Asia-Pacific FDI Forum III were:

  1. to provide a detailed reading of recent developments in investment treaty-making by both the PRC and EU member states. The Forum looked to appreciate how the parties and treaties have evolved, whilst also tracing these developments in the context of identifying their occurrence in response to what drivers.   

  2. to analyse the legal issues raised by the negotiation of a PRC-EU BIT regarding the investment treaty-making practice of the respective parties and their parties' growing litigation experience under existing international investment agreements;

  3. to analyse the course of PRC-EU investment relations;

  4. to identify and place into comparative context the key legal issues raised by the negotiation of a comprehensive investment treaty between China and the EU among others.