Walking the tightrope: Changing Chinese approaches to outward strategic investment, and Australia’s existing and possible responses’

Date & time
12–1pm Tuesday 21 May 2019

Attorney-General's Department- Dialogue Room, 4 National Circuit, Canberra, ACT

Chris Flynn


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Presented by Attorney-General's Department

CIPL Monthly Seminar
Chris Flynn

The post-war multilateral framework of international finance, trade and law is being changed or replaced to accommodate China’s re-emergence as a great power. Within our region, China is already the greatest trading nation and is set to become the dominant provider of capital in the medium term and its laws are likely to increasingly regulate capital flows and trade.

All of this means that profound change is coming for Australia from the top down and the bottom up. Unless we prepare, Australia could lose real leverage in that trade and foreign policy environment. Our current approach to trade and foreign investment is market orientated, relies upon the existing multilateral framework and benefits from standard choice of law provisions that privilege familiar common law jurisdictions (i.e. England and New York). That approach will be put under increasing pressure as China’s role on the world stage and within our region grows.

Chris’ presentation will look at these trends, together with the impact of recent changes to Australia’s laws concerning foreign investment, influence and interference, and offer some future-proofing ideas.


  • Chris Flynn »

    Chris is a partner at Gilbert + Tobin where he sits on the firm’s Board and heads the firm’s energy and public international law practices. He has advised government and private clients in energy, energy security and public international law in over 55 countries. In the most strategically challenging global environment in many decades, Chris’ recent focus has been on Asia as that region accommodates China’s re-emergence. Most recently he has advised Papua New Guinea on energy security related matters, as well as other states on maritime claims and entitlements.

    Pro bono, Chris led the international legal team that worked with the Australian Government to help to secure the freedom of Australian journalist, Peter Greste, from incarceration in Egypt. He also provided support to counsel assisting to resist the capital punishment of Chan and Sukumaran in Indonesia. He is a founding director of the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom.

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