The Geoeconomic Challenge to International Economic Law: Lessons From the Regulation of Data in China
29 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2019 Last revised: 12 Feb 2021
Date Written: November 2, 2019
A clash of economic models with the potential to disrupt international economic law is emerging in the wake of China’s increasing global presence. At the center of this clash of models is the claim that China introduces a ‘geoeconomic’ element to economic relations, while others follow a ‘market-orientation’. The emergence of such clash of models owes significantly to the fact that China has proven unwilling to change course to meet expectations of other actors. In an attempt to manage China’s competition, actors such as the US are themselves resorting to geoeconomic measures, thereby triggering a ‘geoeconomic chain reaction’. The article argues that such geoeconomic dynamic changes the logic underlying global economic relations, with implications for international economic law. The article examines the regulation of data in China, particularly data localization provisions, to show (i) how this legislation advances the geoeconomic goal of helping China to become a leader in artificial intelligence; and (ii) the consequences of China’s approach to data regulation over the prospects of international rules being agreed in this area—so as to project the impact of geoeconomics on international economic law.
Keywords: International Economic Law, Trade, Geoeconomics
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