Asia FDI Forum IV on “Special Economic Zones – Issues and Implications for International Law & Policy”

Launched by CUHK Law in 2015, the series of Asia FDI (“Foreign Direct Investment”) Forum provides a multi-stakeholder platform anchored in Hong Kong for participants from academia, government, the private sector and civil society to discuss regional investment trends, highlight specific features of investment treaties and policies, analyse Asia’s relationship with other regions of the world, and explore the various legal and policy implications of the emergence of new actors, issues and norms which shape the future of Asia FDI. Themes of the past three Forums were “Sustainable Development and Foreign Investment in Asia”, “China’s Three-Prong Investment Strategy: Bilateral, Regional, and Global Tracks” and “China-European Union Investment Relationships: Towards a New Leadership in Global Investment Governance?”.

On 22-23 March 2018, CUHK Law co-organised the Asia FDI Forum IV on “Special Economic Zones (SEZs): Issues and Implications for International Law & Policy” with the World Economic Forum, KoGuan Law School of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment. The Forum consisted of six plenary sessions addressing topics on “Global Experiences with Special Economic Zones”, “Asian Trends in SEZs”, “China and SEZs: Evolution, Types, and Future Issues”, “SEZs and Economic Transformation”, “Investor-State Arbitration and SEZs-related Disputes” and “International Trade Disputes (WTO and Commercial Arbitration)”, with a special attention to the evolution of SEZs in China, the challenges they bring, and how the legal framework can develop. More than 30 prominent local and international academics, legal practitioners, policy makers and representatives of the private sector gathered to speak and share their expertise on SEZs and their interplay with International Investment Law from the economic, political, and legal perspectives. The Forum attracted a diverse audience including members from the judiciary of Hong Kong, international ministries, the media, legal practitioners and students to attend.

Details of the Asia FDI Forum IV and past Forums can be found at

The Asia FDI Forum IV gathered more than 30 prominent local and international experts to address issues on the subject and a diverse audience to attend.

Professor Julien Chaisse of CUHK Law (first from left) was chairing the panel session on “Investor-State Arbitration and SEZs-related Disputes”.

Professor Yan Xu of CUHK Law (left) was leading a discussion with Ms. Chenzhu Wang (right), PhD Candidate of KoGuan Law School of Shanghai Jiao Tong University after the panel presentations on “SEZs and Economic Transformation”.