Elizabeth Economy Calls for Rule of Law in China to be a U.S. Priority

By , August 5, 2009

In a recent interview with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), CFR Senior Fellow and China environmental expert

Dr. Elizabeth C. Economy

Dr. Elizabeth C. Economy

Elizabeth C. Economy analyzes the recent Strategic & Economic Dialogue with China and the U.S.’ changing relation with the emerging global power. While noting that serious differences remain, Dr. Economy stresses the importance of the U.S. and China to work together on a myriad of global issues.

She also pontificates on the changing dynamic in our relationship with China due to the weakened economic might of the U.S. vis-à-vis China and the increase of differing opinions on issues from the Chinese leadership.

But for us at China Law & Policy, where our focus is on the interplay of legal development in China and U.S. policy toward the country, most exciting part of the interview was Dr. Economy’s powerful insistence that the U.S. make rule of law development a priority in its policy toward China.

CFR: What issues should the United States prioritize in its talks with China?
Economy: Off the top of my head, I would say climate change because it is potentially game changing for the entire world in an overwhelmingly negative way. However, my second thought would be the rule of law. The rule of law underpins virtually every other issue. Whether we’re talking about food and product safety, or environmental implementation of anything China might agree to when it comes to global climate change, or trade and investment barriers and intellectual property rights protection, all of them hinge on China having an effective rule of law. Without that, the relationship will continue to founder, because even though we have high-level agreement that we want to work on these issues, if China can’t ensure that it will live up to its obligations, then we’re going to continue to have serious conflict. From my perspective, the most important thing we can do is help them develop the rule of law; it is at the root of most of our conflicts. (emphasis added)

Read Entire Interview Here.

We at China Law & Policy say “You go Liz Economy!”

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