Managing Risk along the Belt and Road of Opportunity
China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a visionary policy. It is an ambitious framework that is projected to see significant numbers of infrastructure and other projects set up under its auspices. However, with such strikingly ambitious vision comes unchartered risks. A large amount of contracts has been signed by Chinese enterprises for projects in countries along the Belt and Road routes, and the number of these cross-border contracts is set to continue to increase. Other than infrastructure and related projects, logistics and maritime sectors are also likely to see heightened activity in the Belt and Road regions. The significant opportunities of the Belt and Road also come with significant risks of legal disputes arising. This is particularly the case given that the Belt and Road sees commercial contracts being concluded between parties from countries with very different legal systems and traditions. The uncertainty of financial exposure or other negative implications in the event of a dispute is a confronting spectre that threatens every cross-border transaction. This article will discuss three key risks for cross-border commercial disputes and the ways to prevent and minimise exposure in order to fully benefit from the Belt and Road opportunities.