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LIVESTREAM The future of international economic law after COVID-19: China and (de)globalisation

9 July 2020
4:30pm - 6:00pm
Online
graphic image of globe over a photo of a city skyline at night

Hosted by the Herbert Smith Freehills China International Business and Economic Law (CIBEL) Centre the 2020 CIBEL Global Network Conference is 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 is The future of international economic law after COVID-19: China and (de)globalisation and will be led by the Co-Director of CIBEL Professor Heng Wang and CIBEL member Dr Weihuan Zhou.

This 90-minute online session will be live-streamed and open to registered audiences. The session will be made up of presentations and Q&As. Audiences will be able to ask questions. Registration is free of charge but is essential. An online link will be sent separately on the morning of the event, so please double check your email address when you register.

Abstract

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 to go to waste.