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The belt and road initiative: A hybrid model of regionalism


  • Grimmel, Andreas
  • Li, Yuan


Initiated under the Presidency of Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is still a young, yet a fast-developing and most ambitious regionalist project. Despite BRI's great potential to shape international trade and - more broadly - international relations amongst participating countries and beyond, scientific studies so far have largely neglected the question of how BRI goes together with contemporary approaches of regionalism and regional integration. This article argues that BRI constitutes a type of hybrid regionalism that seems to largely elude the old-new-regionalism divide and instead, it embraces elements of both traditions. In order to elucidate this double nature of the project, we will first discuss the idea of integration theory that has been developed in the context of the European integration process as well as such approaches that came up in the context of approaches of new regionalism. On this basis, and by referring to central elements of BRI as well as current developments in the framework of the project, we will shed light on the parallels and differences of BRI with "old" and "new" regionalism.

Suggested Citation

  • Grimmel, Andreas & Li, Yuan, 2018. "The belt and road initiative: A hybrid model of regionalism," Working Papers on East Asian Studies 122/2018, University of Duisburg-Essen, Institute of East Asian Studies IN-EAST.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:udedao:1222018

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    1. repec:taf:jocebs:v:15:y:2017:i:3:p:205-213 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Andrew Moravcsik, 1993. "Preferences and Power in the European Community: A Liberal Intergovernmentalist Approach," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(4), pages 473-524, December.
    3. Moravcsik, Andrew, 1991. "Negotiating the Single European Act: national interests and conventional statecraft in the European Community," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(01), pages 19-56, December.
    4. Ian Manners, 2002. "Normative Power Europe: A Contradiction in Terms?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(2), pages 235-258, June.
    5. David Mitrany, 1965. "The Prospect Of Integration: Federal Or Functional," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 119-149, June.
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    More about this item


    Belt and Road Initiative; New Silk Road; Old regionalism; New regionalism; Regional integration; China;

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