The Future of International Economic Law after COVID-19: China and (De)globalisation

Global Network

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About this event

The China International Business and Economic Law (CIBEL) Centre held the 2020 CIBEL Global Network Conference virtual panel sessions. This conference was dedicated to research on the urging issues in the international business and economic law field with the theme of “COVID-19 and international economic law: China and a changing world”.

The topic of this session was “The future of international economic law after COVID-19: China and (de)globalisation” and was led by the Co-Director of CIBEL Professor Heng Wang and CIBEL member Dr Weihuan Zhou. This 90-minute online session was live-streamed and open to registered audiences. The session was made up of presentations and Q&As. Audiences were able to ask questions.


Governments have taken decisive measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 and to protect livelihoods and national economy. These measures range from self-isolation and border closure, export restrictions and import barriers, to a wide array of monetary and fiscal measures to ameliorate the effects on national economy. While these measures are arguably needed in this unprecedented period of time, they would have far-reaching implications for trade policy making in the aftermath of COVID-19.

Before the outbreak of the crisis, global trade and cooperative trade policy making had already been disrupted by the dramatic change of the US trade policy to unilateralism and protectionism and the resultant retaliatory actions by its major trading partners. While COVID-19 has caused further reduction in international trade and growing deterioration of international relations, it may also provide an opportunity for governments to reflect on their decisions and strategies in the past three years and take steps to reinvigorate the WTO as a major forum for trade negotiation and dispute resolution.

This is not the first time we are in a crisis. The 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff and the 2008 Great Depression, for example, also had a destructive impact on trade and international relations. Through collective efforts, governments succeeded in bringing the world economy back to (a new) normal. Despite the arguably larger impact of COVID-19, collective efforts are what is needed to, and what can, rebuild the world trading system. One should never let a serious crisis go to waste.


Professor Heng Wang (CIBEL, UNSW Law) on “China and (de)globalization in a post-COVID-19 world”.

Professor Wang is the Co-Director of UNSW Law’s CIBEL Centre. His current research focus is China’s approach to international economic legal order (including the Belt and Road Initiative, and central bank digital currency), its rationale and implications.


Ms Lifei Lin (University of Hong Kong) on “WTO Reform on Trading Restriction Measures and China's Response in the Context of the Pandemic of COVID-19".

Lifei Lin is currently in her third year PhD in law studies at the University of Hong Kong. Her current doctoral research focus on the regional trade agreements (RTAs) in financial services. She obtained her LL.M. degree at Queen Mary University of London. She holds a Bachelor of law at South China Normal University. Before her PhD study, she was a qualified lawyer in PRC. China and worked as an attorney in Dentons LLP in its Shenzhen office.


Mr Charles Ho Wang Mak (University of Glasgow) on "Sovereign Debt Restructuring- A Perspective from China After COVID-19".

Charles Mak is a PhD Candidate in international law at the University of Glasgow. His research concentrates on sovereign debt regulation. He has studied law at the University of Sussex in England (LL.B. (Hons.)), The Chinese University of Hong Kong (LL.M. in International Economic Law), and the City University of Hong Kong (LL.M.Arb.D.R.(with Credit)). He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb), the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators (FHKIArb) and the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (FRAS). He earned accreditation as a tribunal secretary at the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre. 


Mr Philip Rogers (University of California) on "Power in Moderation: Understanding the Tolerated Circumvention of China’s FDI Regime".

Philip Rogers is a PhD candidate at the University of California, Berkley’s Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science who studies political economy with a focus on China. His research draws upon the nexus of law, policy, and business to study corporate regulation and technological innovation in domestic and international contexts.  Philip holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, a Master of Public Policy, and a Master of Arts in Chinese Studies from the University of Michigan.  Before coming to Berkeley, he worked on transnational corporate law cases as a paralegal at the Shanghai office of Zhong Lun Law Firm.



Associate Professor Markus Wagner (University of Wollongong)

Associate Professor Wagner joined the University of Wollongong, School of Law in 2018 from Warwick Law School. He graduated from law school with honors in Germany 2002 and obtained a master's degree in international law in 2005. From 2002 to 2005, he worked at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg / Germany. In 2006, he graduated from Stanford Law School with an LL.M. degree. Professor Wagner subsequently clerked for then-President of the Supreme Court of Israel Aharon Barak. Starting in 2007, Professor Wagner worked for the Brussels office of WilmerHale. He currently serves as the Associate Editor for the Journal of World Investment and Trade (JWIT) and is the Executive Vice-President for the Society of International Economic Law.