China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a $1 trillion plan to deepen economic relations between itself and up to 60 other countries worldwide through large investments in infrastructure, construction, and other projects. Many commentators have considered the significance of Belt and Road from a political, economic, or even environmental perspective. This discussion, conceived and led by Aaron Halegua, considers a largely neglected topic: what are the initative’s implications for labor in China and the target countries? To what extent do China’s investments create jobs for local workers versus Chinese workers? Are the projects positively impacting labor conditions in participating countries or driving down labor standards? Does it matter whether the Chinese investor is state-owned? And how do the answers to these questions vary across jurisdictions?
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