Politics and International Relations
It has been five years since the Chinese government launched the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In this workshop, we aim to discuss the origin, processes, and impacts of the BRI, with focus on the activities and the local and global-geopolitical economic responses of Chinese companies and multilateral institutions in a number of selected countries in Asia, Africa, and the European Union.
Our central question is: How do Chinese companies and institutions entering into relations with national and local institutions, stakeholders and societies, within the Belt and Road Initiative, affect those institutions, stakeholders and societies, and how do Chinese companies and institutions respond to the demands, challenges and problems raised by the host countries and their population? This central question is broken down into three lines of investigation, with associated sub-questions:
1) Descriptive and classificatory. What patterns of Chinese company involvement with local institutions in host countries can be distinguished? How have they evolved over time as trade and investment relations have intensified? To what extent are these companies embedded in and supported by a larger Chinese political and economic framework that differs from the existing Western ones? How is local society affected by the BRI, and what are the local responses?
2) Descriptive and analytical. Who have been the main actors in Chinese investments and trade, both in China and overseas? What have been the driving forces in their decision-making processes? How responsive have they been to (changes in) local political conditions and international markets? What is the impact of the BRI on global governance?
3) Analytical and conclusive. What differences in company behaviour do the governments, media, businesses and communities in resource-rich countries perceive between Chinese and Western (European and/or American) companies? What factors, both internal and external to Chinese companies, are responsible for such differences, insofar as these perceived differences have a factual basis?
This workshop will introduce the first results of the joint research programme between the Institute of World Economy and Politics (IWEP) of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Beijing, and International Institute of Asian Studies (IIAS) of Leiden University, and a number of Chinese and Dutch research centres and universities. After an introduction to the workshop, case studies and thematic papers will be presented in four sessions. The workshop will result in a published book volume and a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal of the same title.