Rule of Law Gaps and the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative: Legal Certainty for International Businesses?

  • Henrik AndersenEmail author


This chapter discusses rule of law challenges and opportunities for the BRI from the perspective of businesses. First, the chapter introduces the concept of the rule of law and its relevance for businesses. The rule of law is a contested concept and it is necessary to make some normative choices in defining the functions of the rule of law. In addition, the rule of law on international level has some challenges with specific rule of law gaps. Nevertheless, as the BRI is not clearly institutionalised, it leaves room for the BRI to engage in these rule of law gaps and to attempt to close them. Second, the chapter addresses the rule of law elements of transparency, access to justice and equality in the light of the BRI principles. The chapter discusses areas where the BRI can improve on its rule of law dimension to benefit businesses.


Rule of law Belt and road initiative International law Transaction costs 


  1. Andersen, Henrik (2015), “Protection of Non-Trade Values in WTO Appellate Body Jurisprudence: Exceptions, Economic Arguments, and Eluding Questions”, in Journal of International Economic Law, 18(2), 383–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andersen, Henrik (2019a), “India—Solar Cells and Mexico—Taxes on Soft Drinks: Multilevel Rule of Law Challenges in the Interpretation of Art. XX (d) of GATT 1994 in WTO Case Law”, in Indian Journal of International Economic Law, 10, 60–103.Google Scholar
  3. Andersen, Henrik (2019b), “Rule of Law Developments by Judiciaries in the EU and the WTO: A Comparative Approach in a Multilevel Setting”, Copenhagen Business School, CBS LAW Research Paper No. 19–38, available at SSRN:
  4. Avbelj, Matej and Komárek, Jan (2008), “Four Visions of Constitutional Pluralism”, in European Constitutional Law Review, 4(3), 524–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bacchus, James (2003), “Groping Towards Grotius: The WTO and the International Rule of Law”, in Harvard International Law Journal, 44(2), 533.Google Scholar
  6. Bénabou, Roland and Tirole, Jean (2010), “Individual and Corporate Social Responsibility”, in Economica, 77(305), 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cohen, David (2015), “China’s ‘Second Opening’: Grand Ambitions but a Long Road Ahead”, in One Belt, One Road: China’s Great Leap Outward, European Council on Foreign Relations, London, June 2015.Google Scholar
  8. Craig, Paul (1997), “Formal and Substantive Conceptions of the Rule of Law: An Analytical Framework”, in Bellamy, Richard (ed.), The Rule of Law and the Separation of Powers, Sweet & Maxwell Stevens Journals, London, 467–487.Google Scholar
  9. Haggard, Stephan and Tiede, Lydia (2011), “The Rule of Law and Economic Growth: Where Are We?”, in World Development, 39(5), 673–685.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hayek, Friedrich August, (2007 [1944]), Road to Serfdorm, Caldwell, Bruce (ed.), The Definitive ed., The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  11. Hillman, Jennifer (2011 [2012]), AB Annual Report (2011), WT/AB/17, 13 June 2012 (12–3113).Google Scholar
  12. Hoff, Karla and Stiglitz, Joseph (2004), “After the Big Bang?—Obstacles to the Emergence of the Rule of Law in Post-Communist Societies”, in The American Economic Review, 94(3), 753–763.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Koskenniemi, Martti and Leino, Päivi (2002), “Fragmentation of International Law?—Postmodern Anxieties”, in Leiden Journal of International Law, 15(3), 553–579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Krisch, Nico (2012), “The Case for Pluralism in Postnational Law”, in de Búrca, Gráinne and Weiler, Joseph H. H. (eds.), The Worlds of European Constitutionalism, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 203–261.Google Scholar
  15. Lauterpacht, Hersch (2011 [1933]), The Function of Law in the International Community, Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  16. Li, Lao (2019), “The Legal Challenge and Legal Safeguards for the Belt and Road Initiative”, in Global Trade and Customs Journal, 14(5), 211.Google Scholar
  17. Marceau, Gabrielle (2015), “The Primacy of the WTO Dispute Settlement System”, in Questions of International Law, 23, 3–13.Google Scholar
  18. Nordic Trust Fund/World Bank (2012), “Human Rights and Economics: Tensions and Positive Relationships”, prepared by GHK Consulting Ltd.Google Scholar
  19. Orellana, Marcos A. (2002), “The Swordfish Dispute Between the EU and Chile at the ITLOS and the WTO”, in Nordic Journal of International Law, 71(1), 55–81.Google Scholar
  20. Petersmann, Ernst-Ulrich (2012), International Economic Law in the 21st Century—Constitutional Pluralism and Multilevel Governance of Interdependent Public Goods, Hart Publishing, Oxford.Google Scholar
  21. Radin, Margaret (1989), “Reconsidering the Rule of Law”, in Boston University Law Review, 69(4), 781–819.Google Scholar
  22. Rawls, John (1999), A Theory of Justice, Revised ed., The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  23. Raz, Joseph (2009), The Authority of Law: Essays on Law and Morality, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  24. Shany, Yuval (2003), The Competing Jurisdictions of International Courts and Tribunals, Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  25. Taplin, Nathaniel and Wong, Jacky (2019), “Undermining Hong Kong Courts Is Bad for Business”, Wall Street Journal, November 19.Google Scholar
  26. Tuori, Kaarlo (2011), Ratio and Voluntas—The Tension Between Reason and Will in Law, Ashgate, Farnham.Google Scholar
  27. United Nations and World Bank (2018), Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict, World Bank, Washington, DC.
  28. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan (2004), “Report of the Secretary-General, the Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies”, United Nations Security Council, S/2004/616, 23 August 2004.Google Scholar
  29. Walker, Neil (2002), “The Idea of Constitutional Pluralism”, in The Modern Law Review, 65(3), 317–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wan, Ming (2016), The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: The Construction of Power and the Struggle for the East Asian International Order, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.Google Scholar
  31. Zhenmin, Liu (2014), “Editorial Comment: Following the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and Jointly Building a Community of Common Destiny”, in Chinese Journal of International Law, 13(3), 477–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CBS Law, Copenhagen Business SchoolFrederiksbergDenmark

Personalised recommendations