Chinese State Capitalism and the International Tax Regime

How to Cite

Rotblat, C. (2019). Chinese State Capitalism and the International Tax Regime. Columbia Journal of Tax Law, 10(1), 77–138.


As signaled by its participation in the G-20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project, China is gaining significant influence over international tax rules. Yet, how exactly China intends to shape international tax law remains an open question, even amongst leading Chinese tax scholars. As both a major capital importer and exporter as well as a developing economy with tremendous global economic power, China does not fit neatly into the traditional dichotomies of the international tax regime. This article argues that China’s international tax policy is likely to be strongly influenced by its unique system of state capitalism. Both the history of Chinese domestic tax reforms and the Communist Party’s current mechanisms of control over the Chinese economy suggest that China’s tax policy cannot be understood separately from its system of state capitalism. This article contends that as a result, China is likely to adopt distinctive international tax policies including maintaining a worldwide system of corporate taxation, providing tacit state support for international tax planning by major Chinese multinationals, and negotiating for broad exemptions in tax treaties for state-associated entities. If not proactively addressed by OECD countries, these policies may lead to significant fractures within the international tax regime.