The evolution of China’s trade and investment regime since the late 1970s has been a process of constant liberalization of FDI control with a special focus on national development and self-determination. This so-called Beijing Consensus presents a sharp contrast with the neo-liberalist Washington Consensus. A theoretical analysis of this contrast from the law and development critique reveals that, while setting forth itself as the development model and excluding other development alternatives, the legitimacy deficit of the Washington Consensus stems from a self-sufficient ontological myth of legal voluntarism. The Beijing Consensus, with its attention to local conditions and emphasis on self-determination, gains its legitimacy through the dynamic process of selective adaptation of limit-transgression through which it challenges and at the same time enriches international development legitimacy. This article suggests that the Beijing Consensus’ roots in the African Continent’s Agenda 2063 and its First Ten-year Implementation Plan offer positive future prospects.
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