To mark the start of Nordic China Law Week 2018, on 17 April 2018 the Finnish China Law Center and Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki hosted a seminar on the theme ‘Trade Governance of China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Economic Logic and Institutional Arrangements’.

The keynote address was delivered by Professor Cheng Dawei of the Renmin University School of Economics, which has been consistently ranked by the Chinese Ministry of Education as the best university in China in both theoretical and applied economics.

Professor Cheng is Dean of the International Business Program at the Renmin University School of Economics and the author of seven books, including Belt and Road Initiative China’s Trade Governance and Policy (Routledge, May 2018).

Professor Cheng Dawei (Renmin University), speaking at the opening event of Nordic China Law Week 2018 (17 – 23 April 2018) in the University of Helsinki.

Professor Cheng’s keynote presentation addressed issues including the economic logic of the ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) initiative, value choices of its trade governance and the OBOR Initiative’s institutional and legal arrangements.

She also discussed what the future holds for this huge infrastructure project, a signature project of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

‘After assuming office, President Xi Jinping emphasized the value of global governance research’, Professor Cheng said.

‘Since the proposal and implementation of OBOR, China has introduced a number of new terms associated with global governance, such as ‘connectivity’ and ‘three communities of common destiny’. Collectively, these terms form China’s unique ideology on global governance’.

Professor Cheng said that OBOR is the largest regional cooperation initiative ever, covering Asia, Europe, and Africa.

‘At one end is the active East Asian economic circle, and at the other is the developed European economic circle, collectively involving over 60 countries, 60% of the global population, and a third of the world’s gross domestic product’.

Professor Cheng said that OBOR ‘respects the existing rules and frameworks of the multilateral system and has not been established to disrupt this system’.

‘On the contrary, China remains one of the strongest supporters of the existing multilateral system’.

Professor Cheng Dawei, author of ‘Belt and Road Initiative: China’s Trade Governance and Policy’ (Routledge, May 2018), presenting the keynote address during the seminar on ‘Trade Governance of China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Economic Logic and Institutional Arrangements’, 17 April 2018.

At the same time, Professor Cheng argued that ‘based on the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO), China should establish OBOR trade governance theories that supplement, subdue, and innovate existing multilateral trade governance theories’.

‘The advancement and progress of OBOR should perpetually abide by WTO rules and accept the constraints established by the WTO’, Professor Cheng emphasized.

Professor Cheng concluded by noting that OBOR is a national trade strategy and does not contain mandatory laws.

‘Therefore, the existing rules of the WTO provide institutional support for OBOR’.

In his remarks, seminar moderator Dr Guilherme Vasconcelos Vilaça of the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki thanked Professor Cheng for speaking during the opening of Nordic China Law Week 2018, summarized the core aspects of Professor Cheng’s address and challenged several of the arguments she advanced during her talk.

A lively discussion ensued between Professor Cheng, Dr Vilaça and seminar participants.

Dr Guilherme Vasconcelos Vilaça, moderator of the opening event of Nordic China Law Week 2018, in discussion with Professor Cheng (Renmin University) following her address on trade governance of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative.

The event, organized with the support of the University of Helsinki Chinese Studies and Confucius Institute at the University of Helsinki, was one of many during Nordic China Law Week 2018. Other events included:

Wednesday 18 April: Latest Developments in Chinese Intellectual Property Law

Wednesday 18 April: How Important is China’s Constitution in the Chinese Legal System?

Thursday 19 April: China Law Research Workshop

Friday 20 April: Nordic China Law Scholars Meeting

Monday 23 April: Seminar: What People Management Practices Work Best in China Today? Cultural and Legal Perspectives

Monday 23 April: Information Session on Online Chinese Legal Research