26 Jan 2021

Extraterritorial sanctions with a Chinese trademark

European responses to long-arm legal tactics

Steven Blockmans

Download Publication


China has recently updated its laws on the (security) screening of foreign investment, promulgated a new export controls law, drawn up an ‘unreliable entity’ list, and adopted an EU-style statute blocking the extraterritorial jurisdiction of US law. Beijing wages legal warfare (‘lawfare’) against Hong Kong, in the South China Sea, along the Belt and Road, and in cyberspace. Given today’s global geopolitical contestation it is only a matter of time before the European Union feels the grip of the long arm of Chinese law. Historically, the EU Blocking Regulation has provided for a unified European response to the extraterritorial application of sanctions. However, the proliferation of such sanctions requires a deeper debate on possible additional measures to increase deterrence and, if needed, to counteract them. This paper asks how the EU might prepare to be better protected against such lawfare, and finds inspiration in the established practice of hedging against secondary sanctions, as adopted by the US Treasury Department.

Related Publications

Browse through the list of related publications.

Balkan and Eastern European Comparisons

Building a New Momentum for the European integration of the Balkan and Eastern European associated states

From self-doubt to self-assurance

The European External Action Service as the indispensable support for a geopolitical EU

Arming instability

EU-Israel arms trade and the EU Common Position

Association agreement between the EU and Georgia

European Implementation Assessment

Catch me if you can

Updating the Eastern Partnership Association Agreements and DCFTAs