Analysis

Analysis  |  Wednesday August 10th, 2016

UNASUR Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes: Comments on the Draft Constitutive Agreement

The future operation of the investment dispute settlement facility of the Union of South American Nations is likely to generate scepticism, as it could undermine international standards in favour of regional parameters and lead to increased instability in the region. Alternatively, it could enhance the legitimacy and popularity of ISDS mechanisms in UNASUR member states. What are the procedural and substantive novelties contained in the Draft Constitutive Agreement?

Analysis  |  Wednesday August 10th, 2016

Can EU Member States Still Negotiate BITs with Third Countries?

Foreign direct investment became part of the sphere of exclusive competence of the European Union in 2009. Since then, the European Commission has been negotiating investment treaties with a number of countries—as well as authorized several individual EU member states to negotiate BITs.

Mappinginvestmenttreaties.com: Uncovering the secrets of the investment treaty universe

Did you know that the United Kingdom’s treaty network is twice as consistent as that of Egypt or Pakistan? Have you noticed that 81 per cent of the TPP’s investment chapter is the same as the investment chapter in the U.S.–Colombia FTA, concluded ten years before, in 2006? Treating investment treaty texts as data can equip policy-makers, practitioners and researchers with a more sophisticated understanding of the universe of international investment agreements.

The Need for a Southern Observatory on Transnational Investment

The Observatory is an intergovernmental initiative to provide information and exchange of knowledge and experiences on investment arbitration. It also aims at creating equal conditions between investors and states so as to promote sustainable investment that respects state sovereignty.

Analysis  |  Monday February 29th, 2016

Is ISDS in EU Trade Agreements Legal under EU Law?

Legality of investor–state dispute settlement (including in the form of an Investment Court System) in EU trade agreements under EU law is a contentious issue. This article details four legal objections raised by academics and legal experts, and discusses the potential for a legal challenge of ISDS under EU law.

Analysis  |  Tuesday December 1st, 2015

TTIP and Climate Change: Low economic benefits, real climate risks

This week’s climate change negotiations should inform many spheres of global governance—including international trade and investment policy. One of the most important trade and investment agreements is the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—currently under negotiation between the European Union and United States—given the role it will likely play in establishing rules for the global economy in the 21st century.

Analysis  |  Saturday November 28th, 2015

Does the Green Economy Need Investor–State Dispute Settlement?

Environmentalists have traditionally been among the staunchest critics of investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS). For those familiar with the litany of ISDS cases that have involved challenges to environmental regulations—ranging from bans on pesticides to efforts to save endangered species—the opposition to ISDS on the part of environmental non-governmental organizations and scholars is not difficult to […]

Analysis  |  Thursday November 26th, 2015

Safeguarding Sustainable Development: Financing for Development and the International Investment Regime

Discussion of international investment governance has changed in character in recent years. While some specialists examined the potential negative sustainable development implications of international investment agreements (IIAs), in official forums the focus of previous decades was often on how to best protect and encourage foreign direct investment (FDI). Now, especially because of ongoing negotiations of […]

Analysis  |  Thursday November 26th, 2015

Conciliation and Arbitration Law: Times of Change in Investment Protection in Bolivia

1. Neoliberal period: Legal structure of foreign investment protection In the early 1990s, the Bolivian State underwent a neoliberal period. Such period was marked by (i) the setting up of a constitutional and legal structure aimed at protecting foreign investment, which affected Bolivia’s regulatory framework and control authority, and (ii) a process of drastic reduction […]

Analysis  |  Tuesday August 4th, 2015

The Brazilian Agreement on Cooperation and Facilitation of Investments (ACFI): A New Formula for International Investment Agreements?

Since the signing of the first Agreement on Cooperation and Facilitation of Investments (ACFI) by Brazil, in March 2015, English translations of the document and analyses of its innovative aspects have been published.[1] The hidden question is: to what extent do Brazil’s ACFIs innovate in the regulation of foreign investments? Alternatives to the current liberal […]

Analysis  |  Tuesday August 4th, 2015

Working by Design: New Ideas to Empower U.S. and European Workers in TTIP

The 21st century has not been the best of times for U.S. and European workers. They have been buffeted by job losses, underemployment, and economic insecurity. Many individuals toil without benefits or job security.[1] Although workers are increasingly productive, many of them earn less than they did 20 years ago.[2] EU and U.S. policy-makers argue […]

Analysis  |  Thursday May 21st, 2015

The Merits and Limitations of General Exception Clauses in Contemporary Investment Treaty Practice

The international investment agreement (IIA) regime is experiencing an unprecedented surge in public attention. Prime examples are the debates surrounding the conclusion of the Canada–European Union Comprehensive Trade and Investment Agreement (CETA) and the ongoing negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement between the United States and the European Union (TTIP). In Germany, […]

Analysis  |  Thursday May 21st, 2015

Rethinking Investment-Related Dispute Settlement

Investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS), a concept much unknown to the broader public and even top policy-makers only a year ago, is making headlines, especially as the European Union and the United States contemplate including the mechanism in the deal they are currently negotiating, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Public awareness is growing of […]

Analysis  |  Thursday May 21st, 2015

Experts at UNCTAD Meeting Give Shape to IIA Reform Options

More than 300 experts and delegates from member states, international organizations, NGOs, the private sector and academia attended the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Meeting on the Transformation of the International Investment Agreement (IIA) Regime from February 25 to 27, 2015 in Geneva. Working in breakout and plenary sessions, the experts explored […]

Analysis  |  Thursday May 21st, 2015

Investment Law and the 1%: On Which Side of the Divide?

The increasing concentration of wealth—often referred to as “the 1% issue”—raises serious concerns. The World Economic Forum, in its top ten trends of 2015, states: At the top of this year’s list is worsening income inequality. As the world’s rich continue to accumulate wealth at record rates, the middle class is struggling. Today, the top […]

Analysis  |  Thursday May 21st, 2015

The Brazil–Mozambique and Brazil–Angola Cooperation and Investment Facilitation Agreements (CIFAs): A Descriptive Overview

Brazil and Mozambique signed on March 30, 2015 the first Cooperation and Investment Facilitation Agreement (CIFA) based on Brazil’s new model bilateral investment treaty (BIT). The second was signed on April 1, 2015 between Brazil and Angola. Unlike traditional BITs, which are geared towards investor protection, the CIFAs focus primarily on cooperation and investment facilitation. […]

Analysis  |  Thursday May 21st, 2015

China’s Antitrust Crackdown Hits Qualcomm with US$975 Million Fine: What Can Other Host States Learn from the Story?

In February 2015, Qualcomm Inc. (Qualcomm), the world’s leading cellular chip maker, headquartered in California, was ordered by the Chinese anti-monopoly authority to pay a fine of RMB 6.088 billion (approximately US$975 million) for antitrust offenses against Chinese consumers,[1] following a 14-month-long investigation of the company’s anti-competitive practices. Seen by many as one of the […]

Analysis  |  Thursday February 19th, 2015

Everyone’s Doing It: The Acceptance, Effectiveness and Legality of Performance Requirements

For policymakers charged with investment portfolios, the challenge is not simply about attracting greater flows of foreign direct investment (FDI). At least as important is trying to maximize the domestic economic and social benefits that result from those investments. This can be achieved with tax policies or targeted recruitment of specific investments with promising potential […]

Analysis  |  Thursday February 19th, 2015

The International Investment Regime at a Crossroad: Should We be Rethinking Foreign Investment Governance?

The international investment regime (IIR) has been in crisis since it attracted the attention of the international community in the early 2000s. This crisis began with awards like Metalclad v. Mexico and TECMED v. Mexico, where tribunals promoted the stability of the legal and business framework while seriously constraining the policy space of host states. […]

Analysis  |  Thursday February 19th, 2015

State Regulatory Autonomy and Tobacco Control in International Trade and Investment Law

Tobacco companies are frequently turning to international trade and investment agreements as a tool to challenge domestic tobacco control measures. Cases to date include: Indonesia’s successful challenge before the World Trade Organization (WTO) of the U.S. exemption of menthol from its ban on flavoured cigarettes;[1] the pending WTO claims by Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia […]

Analysis  |  Tuesday February 17th, 2015

Political Change vs. Legal Stability: Problems Arising from the Application of Investment Treaties in Transitions from Authoritarian Rule

Investment treaties protect foreign investors from a range of host state conduct that affects their investments. One influential view is that the purpose of these treaties is to provide legal stability for foreign investors. While this view is shared by arbitral tribunals,[1] academic commentators,[2] and lawyers acting for foreign investors,[3] it finds relatively little support […]

In Accordance with Which Host State Laws? Restoring the ‘Defence’ of Investor Illegality in Investment Arbitration

Investment treaties are often criticised for being too ‘investor-friendly.’ With this in mind, it becomes important to clarify the mechanisms available to host states to defend against investment treaty claims. One such mechanism is found in the provisions included in many investment treaties, to the effect that investors must comply with host state law in order for their investment to enjoy treaty protection.

Analysis  |  Tuesday November 18th, 2014

Litigating Intellectual Property Rights in Investor-State Arbitration: From Plain Packaging to Patent Revocation

Enforcing intellectual property (IP) rights abroad is a difficult enterprise. International IP treaties have generally not created global, directly enforceable IP rights. Usually, the protection they confer cannot even be directly invoked in front of national courts. Rather, because of the territorial nature of IP protection, right holders must enforce their rights in local courts based on local laws. Litigating one’s IP rights abroad hence faces significant hurdles.

However, international investment law may offer some options to overcome these hurdles.

Analysis  |  Tuesday November 18th, 2014

Who is Afraid of Investor-State Arbitration? Unpacking the Riddle of ‘No Greater Rights’ in the TTIP

The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has been creating expectations and stirring fears ever since it was announced by EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso and US President Barack Obama in mid-2013.[1] The promise to boost trans-Atlantic economic exchange in the world’s largest free-trade area came along with the aim to “include investment … […]

Risky Business or Risky Politics: What Explains Investor-State Disputes?

While there is a fair amount of scholarly work on the determinants of expropriation, we know less about the political and economic conditions under which the broader category of investor-state disputes take place. This article provides a statistical analysis of political and economic factors that contribute to the likelihood of an investor-state dispute; and a qualitative coding of measures which have resulted in arbitration cases.

Analysis  |  Monday August 11th, 2014

Opening the Door to Foreign Investment? An Analysis of Bolivia’s New Investment Promotion Law

On April 4, 2014, Bolivian President Evo Morales promulgated a law establishing the general legal and institutional framework to promote domestic and foreign investment in Bolivia, while contributing to socio-economic development. This note provides an overview and analysis of the main features of Bolivia’s new law, within the context of the country’s investment law and policy, and international trends.

Aron Broches and the Withdrawal of Unilateral Offers of Consent to Investor-State Arbitration

Several States have terminated bilateral investment treaties as they came up for renewal. The effectiveness of BIT termination, however, is limited by the “survival clauses” that are frequently included in IIAs. These provisions state that even after the treaty is terminated it will continue to apply to investments that were made while the treaty was in force for an additional 10 or 15 years.

Analysis  |  Wednesday May 14th, 2014

ICSID’s Annulment Decision in Impregilo v. Argentina: Finality of Awards v. Legal Correctness

On January 24, 2014, an ICSID ad-hoc annulment committee dismissed a request by the Argentine Republic to annul a June 2011 arbitral award for harm suffered to an investment in a Buenos Aires water services concession. While this was one of the smaller awards rendered against Argentina, it is nonetheless of utmost significance for Argentina and all countries facing claims under investment treaties.

Analysis  |  Wednesday May 14th, 2014

The Practice of Responsible Investment Principles in Larger-Scale Agricultural Investments

The recent and ongoing trend towards corporate, especially foreign, investment in developing countries’ agricultural sectors has evoked sharply contrasting attitudes. For some, this “rediscovery” of agriculture as a focus of investment provides opportunities to again promote the sector within the larger agenda of economic development. For others, it has raised serious concerns about whether such investments, especially those involving large scale land acquisitions, are conducted in a manner which respects people’s rights, livelihoods and resources.

Analysis  |  Sunday January 19th, 2014

The Boom in Parallel Claims in Investment Treaty Arbitration

Investment treaty arbitrators have adopted a de facto policy of favouring parallel claims by declining to yield to contractually-agreed dispute settlement provisions. The policy is widespread among tribunals but appears out of step with judicial restraint based on principles of party autonomy, sanctity of contract, or the avoidance of parallel proceedings.