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Danni Liang

As an active IIA negotiator, the Chinese government is now reconsidering the purpose of IIAs, moving from solely investment protection to creating IIAs for sustainable development. This will constitute a primary basis on which to prevent erosion of the State’s right to regulate in the public interest by expanding private interests. However, strengthening the government’s right to regulate in the regime of its future IIAs does not mean sacrificing the objectives of investment protection, promotion and liberalization; rather, it is a way of balancing those rights and obligations of States and investors, and ensuring the government’s right to regulate is exercised in conformity with their international obligation under IIAs. It is clear that if this trajectory continues, the outlook for the environmental protection component of the environment–investment nexus within China will be more positive than has been the case in previous years.