China and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), established in 1988, is part of the World Bank Group. Its mandate is to promote foreign investment in its member countries by providing political risk insurance and technical assistance to promote investment. In developing this case study of China's evolving relationship with MIGA, the author asked: Why did China decide to seek membership in MIGA? What was the outcome of the relationship between China and MIGA? How has that relationship affected economic and legal reform in China and the country's integration with the multilateral investment insurance system? How can MIGA strengthen its role? And how can MIGA prevent potential claims to its portfolio in China? MIGA's comparative advantages are its international experience in underwriting and operating its portfolio, its neutral position and approach, its mediation and legal advice, and the fact that its guarantee portfolio is unaffected by bilateral relations. The author suggested that in China, MIGA should screen foreign direct investment (FDI), not just encourage it, because some FDI in China has been of poor quality, with little transfer of skills and technology. Some local partners have conceded too many discounts to foreign investors, without considering the cost of key assets such as land and machinery. Some foreign investors have taken advantage of local officials'eagerness for foreign capital, pressuring them to grant guarantees they should not grant and to allow unacceptable levels of environmental pollution in industry. China receives one-third of all FDI in developing countries. To continue attracting such investment, it must design a rule-based legal system governing FDI, making its rules and regulations more transparent, uniform, and consistent with international practice. As a neutral third party, MIGA could make policy recommendations that authorities might consider and accept -- such as policies designed to encourage less investment in labor-intensive firms and more in high-tech industries.
International Terrorism&Counterterrorism,Legal Products,Fiscal&Monetary Policy,Payment Systems&Infrastructure,Environmental Economics&Policies,Environmental Economics&Policies,Legal Products,National Governance,Foreign Direct Investment,International Terrorism&Counterterrorism
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