Trade and Investment Research Cluster

Within the Westminster Development Policy Network, we have a cluster of researchers with an interest in international trade and investment. One current area of work highlighted here concerns assessing the impact of Chinese trade and investment.

The effects of the Chinese acquisition of strategic assets in Europe: The Port of Piraeus

Karen Jackson, Jane Li and Serena Masino

This ongoing project explores the impacts of the Chinese acquisition of the Port of Piraeus along three overlapping strands (i) trade (ii) business and (iii) employment.

We have conducted an initial scoping of the research, during which semi-structured interviews were conducted with senior managers, national and local institutions, union representatives and dock workers. The interviews served to establish access to the field and identify important research categories and themes.

Follow-up conversations will provide insights into the changing patterns of port trade, adjustments to the management of port activities due to the demand/supply shocks resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, direct and indirect spillovers including how far back into the local economy these extend, as well as the differential employment impacts across workers under different employers. Our project’s results will highlight key issues that need to be considered given the real prospect of further Chinese investments in Greece and the rest of Europe.

China in Uzbekistan: An investigation into the effects of the BRI on trade, migration, and Chinese language education

The project team is comprised of a multi-lingual team of researchers based in London and Tashkent, including Karen Jackson and Bakhrom Mirkasimov, Cangbai Wang and Gerda Wielander. The project is funded by the WUIT Collaborative Research Fund (9,710 pounds) for the period: Nov 2019 – Nov 2021. The research aims…

  • to map out different types of investment (Chinese government investment/loans, State-Owned Enterprise investment, private investment) into relevant sectors over the last ten years;
  • to map Chinese migration to Uzbekistan associated with the development of BRI;
  • to map the establishment of Confucius institutes and classrooms, and to analyse data in relation to Chinese language learning and teaching as well as the need for Chinese language interpreting and translation;
  • to map media coverage of China and BRI in two main Uzbek publications.

The project will include a conference in June 2021: A Central Asian Perspective on the BRI: Chinese Investment, Migration, and Language Education in the Shadow of COVID-19

More details —- Project page

Risky business: Political stability along the Belt and Road 
Karen Jackson and Oleksandr Shepotylo ​​

This research explores the impact of improvements in the political environment on trade and welfare. We conduct a counterfactual analysis using a structural gravity approach, to investigate how the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) combined with more assertive and active Chinese foreign policy would impact on global trade flows and global welfare. In our model, the BRI benefits come from reduced trade costs, reduced bilateral political uncertainty, military alliances, and greater political stability in BRI countries. Based on our full general equilibrium results, our key findings are that (i) military alliances between BRI countries and China are expected to have the most positive effect on welfare, with particularly positive effects on China and South Asia (ii) improved political stability across BRI countries is expected to have the most beneficial impact on South Asia. These results suggest that it is important to look beyond economic gains derived from trade cost reductions; politically aligning countries participating in the BRI and providing security to the countries where China invests in transport and infrastructure has the potential to deliver significant benefits. 

Other publications in this area

Glinavos I. (2020) Which Way Huawei? ISDS Options for Chinese Investors. In: Chaisse J., Choukroune L., Jusoh S. (eds) Handbook of International Investment Law and Policy. Springer, Singapore — More details

Jackson, K. and Shepotylo, O., 2021. Belt and road: The China dream?. China Economic Review, Vol 67. — More details

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