“Mega-Regionals, China’s Rise, and the One Belt, One Road Initiatives” by Professor Donald J. LEWIS
Professor Donald J. LEWIS
Centre for International Economic Law, Trade and Development
London Centre of International Law Practice
Despite the WTO receiving a new lease on life as a result of the Nairobi Ministerial Declaration, the defining feature of current international trade liberalization and regulation is the advent of Mega-regional trade agreements across the globe. Coupled with China’s remarkable economic rise and its geopolitical expansion via the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) Initiatives, the world has entered a new, uncharted, profoundly innovative epoch – but, paradoxically, one with deep resonances from antiquity. Through its New Silk Road Economic Belt, and associated corridors, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, the Cyber or Digital Silk Road, and the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), China is fundamentally re-configuring the international political economy. China has embraced South-South cooperation through recent “strategic partnerships” with Middle Eastern countries and the whole of Africa, and its OBOR overtures to Central Asia and Europe herald the dawn of something unprecedented in history – Eurasian economic integration.