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The Belt and Road Initiative, also known as ‘One Belt, One Road’ (“一带一路”; Yī dài Yī lù), is a People’s Republic of China (PRC) governmental initiative which chiefly draws inspiration from the ancient Silk Road (BRI). Often described as the largest matrix of infrastructure projects in the decades to come, the BRI’s professed aim is to strengthen international cooperation and growth through greater connectivity. The BRI comprises a myriad of projects to be implemented in the territories of 64 BRI participating states, in Northern Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The BRI’s impact is, and will likely remain for some time, an evolving subject: while, on one hand, the BRI has been addressed uncritically and even praised, on the other hand, skepticism over the BRI has also been raised, most notably in light of doubts over its long-term sustainability and potential debt issue.

In light of these developments and evolving views, this conference aims to provide an overview of the challenges and opportunities presented by the BRI from an interdisciplinary perspective, addressing both international politics and international relations aspects, and legal issues which might arise under the international law on tax, trade and dispute resolution.


Shaomei Chen (Adv. LLM [University of Leiden], LLB [Renmin University of China]) is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law of the University of Leiden, the Netherlands. Her areas of research interest are international tax law and domestic tax law of China. She is a lecturer for summer courses hosted by International Tax Center Leiden in China and Indonesia and is a co-author of the “Triangular Cases” chapter for the IBFD Global Tax Treaty Commentaries

Joris Larik (PhD, European University Institute) is Assistant Professor of Comparative, EU and International Law. He is an expert in EU external relations, comparative foreign relations law, global governance, and the external ramifications of Brexit. His work has been acknowledged with several awards, including NATO’s Manfred Wörner Essay Award and the Mauro Cappelletti Prize for the Best Thesis in Comparative Law from the EUI. Dr. Larik is the author of “Foreign Policy Objectives in European Constitutional Law” (OUP, 2016) and co-author of “ASEAN’s External Agreements” (CUP, 2015). In 2017, he was a Fulbright-Schuman Fellow at Johns Hopkins SAIS in Washington, D.C.

Anna Marhold (PhD, European University Institute) is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, Leiden University. Her specializations are International and European Energy Law and Regulation, International Economic Law, World Trade Organization (WTO) and International Trade Law.

Panos Merkouris (PhD, Queen Mary, University of London) is Adjunct Professor and Chair on Interpretation and Dispute Settlement in International Law at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. His areas of expertise are law of treaties, customary international law, sources, and international dispute settlement. He is Principal Investigator of the ERC project TRICI-Law.

Diego Mejía-Lemos (PhD, National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore) is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at NUS. He has held positions in academia and practice. Recently, at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), in The Hague, he provided support to investment treaty arbitrations conducted under the PCA’s auspices. His work has been published or is forthcoming in the American Journal of International Law (Cambridge University Press), the Oxford Reports on International Law, the Oxford Reports on International Organizations, and Investment Claims (Oxford University Press (OUP)). He is managing editor of The Global Community: Yearbook of International Law and Jurisprudence (OUP).

Irma Johanna Mosquera Valderrama (PhD, University of Groningen) is an associate professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Leiden, the Netherlands. Her areas of expertise are international tax law and comparative tax law in developed and developing countries. She has published several articles in peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed journals. She is the principal investigator of the ERC Project GLOBTAXGOV.

Jue Wang (PhD, University of Warwick) is a scholar of international political economy, with focuses on China’s political economy, its external economic relationship and its role in regional and global economic governance. She also has a wide range of research interests in international economic organizations, international cooperation, and the development of emerging economies. Dr. Wang is also an associate fellow for Asia Programme at Chatham House: The Royal Institute of International Affairs.