Asia FDI Forum III - May 11-12, 2017, Hong Kong

Past Asia FDI Forum

Asia FDI Forum II (2016) China's Three-Prong Investment Strategy: Bilateral, Regional, and Global Tracks

The Asia FDI Forum 2016 was structured around the emerging three tracks of China's investment policy and strategy. As China is experiencing 'painful and treacherous' economic transition from state-led manufacturing to a service-based economy, new strategies are needed to fuel its stalled economic reforms and development goals as articulated in China's 13th Five-Year-Plan (2016-2020). For China's domestic investors, there is a shrinking pool of good investment opportunities in the country compared to its very high savings rate. For foreign investors, China has been identified as 'the strictest' investment environment among the G20. It is thus important for China to adjust its investment rules and policies with its major economic partners and within the Asia-Pacific region. The Bilateral Prong: In recent years, China, a country which has historically preferred to deal bilaterally with foreign nations, has launched bilateral talks with its top high-income trading partners to advance its interests and gain more influence. China has concluded bilateral deals with certain strategic partners e.g. ASEAN (2010), Canada (in 2014), and Australia (in 2015). In addition, there are two notable deals under negotiation: US-China BIT (reengaged in 2008) to govern a more complex economic relationship between the world`s largest economies, and EU-China investment treaty (launched in 2014) to further open up China`s economy. The Regional Prong: China has also actively participated in shaping the economic architecture of the Asia-Pacific region. Spurred by regional economic integration in the West (EU, NAFTA, MERCOSUR, Pacific Alliance) and frustrated by the deadlock of WTO multilateral negotiations, countries in the Asia-Pacific region are leaning towards harmonization and modernization of their foreign investment rules. To fulfill the "Asia-Pacific dream" touted by President Xi, China has, since 2006, been promoting an Asia-Pacific trade pact, the FTAAP, arguably with RCEP and TPP as pathways created by China and the U.S. towards harmonization. Furthermore, in 2014 the "Trilateral Investment Agreement" – between China, Japan and South Korea, entered into force.  And of course the potential coming into force of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), even without having China, must be part of the analysis, as it could also have complex and significant impacts on the region's investment governance. The Global Prong: China has garnered increasing attention through its introduction of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) in 2013, aimed at strengthening its "Go global" policy by opening up new markets and increasing the value of cross-border business. China also assumed the G20 presidency in 2016 with the "Guiding Principles for Global Investment Policymaking" by the G20, which specifically reference inclusive growth and sustainable development as objectives of investment policymaking, and implementation of which will be pivotal in reducing the fragmentation of international investment law and policy going forward.

The Asia FDI Forum II featured several experts, including:

  • Ms. Hong Zhao, Member WTO Appellate Body, Geneva
  • Mr. Patrick W. Pearsall, Chief of Investment Arbitration in the U.S. State Department's Office of the Legal Adviser
  • Mr. Jingzhou Tao, Managing Partner, Beijing Representative Office, Dechert LLP
  • Ms. Yan Xu, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, CUHK
  • Ms. Ka Zeng, Professor, Professor of Political Science, Director of Asian Studies, Department of Political Science, University of Arkansas
  • Mr. William W. Burke-White, Deputy Dean, Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Mr. Heng Wang, Associate Professor, School of Law, University New South Wales
  • Ms. Lu (Luella) Wang, School of Law, Xi'an Jiaotong University and School of Law and Social Justice, University of Liverpool
  • Mr. Matthew Hodgson, Partner, Allen & Overy, Hong Kong
  • Ms. Lise Johnson, Head, Investment Law and Policy, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), Columbia University
  • Ms. Sophie Meunier, Research Scholar, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University Mr. Andrew D. Mitchell, Professor, Melbourne Law School
  • Ms. Li Na, Lecturer, East China University of Political Science and Law, Shanghai
  • Ms. Anna Joubin-Bret, Attorney-at-law and Independent Arbitrator, Paris
  • Mr. Xinquan Tu, Professor, China Institute for WTO Studies, University of international Business and Economics
  • Mr. Luke Nottage, Professor, School of Law, The University of Sydney
  • Mr. Stephen Olson, Research Fellow, Hinrich Foundation, HK
  • Mr. N. Jansen Calamita, Principal Research Fellow, Centre for International Law, Research Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore
  • Mr. Won-Mog Choi, Professor of Law and Director of the WTO Law Center, Ehwa Womans University and President, Korea Society of International Economic Law, Seoul                    
  • Mr. Rodolphe Desbordes, Reader, Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde, UK

More information (Archived conference website):


Asia FDI Forum I (2015) Sustainable Development and Foreign Investment in Asia

The Asia FDI Forum 2015 provided a multi-stakeholder platform for participants from academia, government, the private sector and civil society to discuss regional investment trends, highlight specific features of Asia-Pacific investment laws and treaties, and explore policy implications.  Among key questions, the Forum explored how Asia-Pacific's agreements compare to recent global trends in the evolving rules on foreign investment; the patterns and implications of increasing regionalization in investment rule-making by Asian countries; perceptions and use of investor-state arbitration by Asian investors and against Asian states; and the relationship between efforts to increase FDI and efforts to improve governance and inclusive growth and development.

The Asia FDI Forum I featured a number of experts, including:

  • Ms. Emma Aguinot, Regional Advisor (Southeast Asia),
  • Oxfam Ms. Madelyn Joy Almazora, Senior Officer, Investment Division, ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta
  • Ms. Mayling Chan, International Programme Unit Director, Oxfam Hong Kong
  • Prof. Manjiao Chi, Professor, Faculty of Law, Xiamen University
  • Dr. Aekapol Chongvilaivan, Strategy and Policy Economist, Asian Development Bank
  • Prof. Mark Feldman, School of Transnational Law, Peking University
  • Dr. Martina Francesca Ferracane, Policy Analyst, European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE), Brussels
  • Mr. Timothy Hughes, Associate, Herbert Smith Freehills
  • Prof. Tomoko Ishikawa, Associate Professor, University of Tsukuba
  • Prof. Srividya Jandhyala, ESSEC Business School, Singapore
  • Prof. Jayant Menon, Lead Economist, Office for Regional Economic Integration, Asian Development Bank
  • Prof. Bryan Mercurio, Professor, Faculty of Law, CUHK
  • Dr. Karl P. Sauvant, Resident Senior Fellow, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI)
  • Prof. Leon Trakman, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales
  • Mr. Romesh Weeramantry, Foreign Legal Consultant, Clifford Chance, Hong Kong
  • Dr. Andrew Wells-Dang, Senior Technical Advisor, Oxfam in Vietnam
  • Prof. Lutz-Christian Wolff, Wei Lun Professor of Law and Dean of Graduate School, Faculty of Law, CUHK
  • Prof. Chao Xi, Professor, Faculty of Law, CUHK
  • Prof. Jun Xiao, Professor, Wuhan University, Institute of International Law, School of Law, Wuhan University
  • Dr. Xueling Zhai, Professor, Research Centre for Rural Economy (Ministry of Agriculture)
  • Prof. Ling Zhang, Yunnan University of Finance and Economics
  • Prof. Mimi Zou, Assistant Professor, Center for Human Rights and Justice, Faculty of Law, CUHK

More information (Archived conference website):