Eddie Ashbee looks at US – China relations and the Blue Dot Network
The relationship between the US and China took a serious turn for the worse during Donald Trump’s presidency. His administration not only struck out at Chinese strategic ambitions and its economic policies but also turned against the Belt & Road Initiative, China’s gargantuan trans-continental network of infrastructure projects.
Joe Biden’s presidency seemed to represent an about-turn if most forms of policy are considered. But - China has been the exception and, if anything, relationships have deteriorated further. Instead of dismantling the initiatives aimed at China that President Trump created, the Biden administration has begun running with them.
Eddie Ashbee’s new article published in Asian Affairs: An American Review considers just one of these initiatives – the Blue Dot Network (BDN). The BDN seeks to “vet” proposed infrastructure projects and certify those that meet quality thresholds in terms of sustainability, governance and finance. Such certification will, it is said, enable projects to secure funding from the west and Japan.
The Biden administration relaunched the BDN and it is now under the auspices of the OECD. But will the BDN have an impact? Although rankings and certification schemes have at times shaped consumer behavior and the strategies pursued the firms Eddie Ashbee argues that the forms of economic power on which the BDN rests can often have scattergun effects. Policymakers may not always get what they wish for!
Edward Ashbee, ‘The Blue Dot Network, economic power, and China’s Belt & Road Initiative’, Asian Affairs: An American Review, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00927678.2021.1964886