9:00—10:00 AM ET

How China Lends: A Rare Look into 100 Debt Contracts with Foreign Governments


  • Anna Gelpern, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center and Nonresident Senior Fellow, Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Sebastian Horn, Economist, Kiel Institute for the World Economy


  • Lee C. Buchheit, Professor (Hon.), University of Edinburgh School of Law
  • Ugo Panizza, Professor of Economics and Pictet Chair in Finance and Development, The Graduate Institute Geneva & CEPR


  • Scott Morris, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development


China is the world’s largest official creditor, but basic facts about the terms and conditions of its lending were—until recently—obscured. On March 31, 2021, the Center for Global Development, in collaboration with AidData at William & Mary, the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Georgetown Law School, and the Peterson Institute for International Economics, released a new working paper that sheds light on the contractual obligations associated with Chinese loans. Among other findings, this paper presents key discoveries related to the confidentiality, security, and policy influence provisions that accompany Chinese loans.

These findings come at a critical moment. With the much of the developing world reeling under the financial pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic and U.S.-China geopolitical tensions fast approaching a fever pitch, there is a vital need for empirical evidence on China’s international financial activities. Just what impact do the unique provisions of Chinese loan contacts have on the financial stability of developing countries? How will these contracts influence debt relief negotiations at the upcoming G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatment discussions?

To unpack the answers to these questions, the Center for Global Development invites you to attend this virtual launch event. The discussion will feature an overview of the paper’s methodology, findings, and significance by two of the paper’s co-authors. It will also feature a discussion of the paper’s significance by two eminent experts on international contract law, and a Q&A session.

Find the full report by Anna Gelpern, Sebastian Horn, Scott Morris, Brad Parks, and Christoph Trebesch here and the related dataset of Chinese contracts here.

If you have questions for our panelists, please submit them to [email protected], tweet @CGDev #CGDTalks, or submit your comments via YouTube.

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