Geoeconomics, Geopolitics, China & The BRI, Debt-Trap Diplomacy + Everything Special Economic Zones

For episode #12 of the ‘Geopolitics & Power’ podcast, I was thrilled to host both Preston Martin & Aleksa Burmazovic to speak exclusively about the little known but enormously influential – Special Economic Zones. Special Economic Zones are a fascinating corner of geopolitics that is rarely explored and more commonly even less understood. This interview opens all.

Both Preston & Aleksa work for the Special Economic Zone consultancy firm, The Adrianople Group, of which Preston is a co-founder. We covered so much in this chat – most notably, what are special economic zones? I wrote an article explaining in brief an introduction to these phenomena of globalisation and multinational trade, but it is in this conversation I had with Preston & Aleksa that the true depth of Special Economic Zones starts to be realised.

Over 60% of the worlds trade runs through a Special Economic Zone and these are spaces whose regulations fall outside of the states regulations within the country they are housed. So you can immediately see a story of tax evasion and exploitation. But this is to quick and un-nuanced a look at things, it turns out Special Economic Zones (like many things) are subject to both the good and the bad, and things of such complexity are worth thinking about.

My favourite part of the chart was all of it! But that doesn’t help you point out highlights. So in short I would say the following three subjects make up the best parts of the conversation.

  • The Philosophy Of Special Economic Zones (At The End)
  • China & It’s History With Special Economic Zones (Middle & Bulk)
  • Defining Special Economic Zones Through Real-Life Examples (Beggining)

Listen To This Interview On Special Economic Zones On Apple Here – Or Everywhere Else Below

Time Stamps For The Interview On Special Economic Zones

  • 00:00 – Introduction
  • 08:11 – Defining & Understanding Special Economic Zones (SEZ)
  • 14:15 – Examples Of Special Economic Zones.
  • 27:30 – If It Can Work In An SEZ, Why Can’t It Work Nation Wide?
  • 38:00 – Explaining What Alex & Preston Do With SEZ’s.
  • 43:45 – A Terrific Example For How An SEZ Might Come Into Business.
  • 46:50 – The Fascinating History Of SEZ’s In China.
  • 55:26 – Explaining China’s Middle Income Trap.
  • 57:53 – A Fascinating Explanation Of Chinese Communism – The Mandate Of Heaven.
  • 1:00:35 – China’s Belt & Road Initiative Wrapped Into SEZ’s.
  • 1:13:53 – An Explanation Of Debt Trap Diplomacy.
  • 1:16:50 – Specific SEZ Chat On China’s BRI.
  • 1:24:41 – The Good & The Bad Matrix For Special Economic Zones.
  • 1:29:49 – Onto The Philosophy Of SEZ’s
  • 1:47:50 – What Country Are You Most Bullish On Looking Into The Future?

Watch This Interview On Youtube Here

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