Analysis

Achmea: The Beginning of the End for ISDS in and with Europe?

Current and future investment treaties and chapters involving EU member states or the Union itself may be profoundly impacted by a landmark ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). In this piece, the author explores the judgement from an EU constitutional point of view and analyzes potential consequences. Did the Achmea ruling come as a surprise to EU law insiders?

An Interview with Luis Guillermo Vélez – Director-General of Colombia’s National Agency for the Legal Defense of the State

On the heels of our 11th Annual Forum of Developing Country Investment Negotiators, we interviewed Luis Guillermo Vélez, Director-General of Colombia’s National Agency for the Legal Defense of the State (ANDJE), to capture his experiences on investment negotiations and disputes, his expectations for investment reform processes and views on the value of the Forum.

Government Regulatory Space in the Shadow of BITs: The Case of Tanzania’s Natural Resource Regulatory Reform

Tanzania passed three new laws in July 2017 that significantly change the regulatory landscape governing natural resources. The reforms are aimed at ensuring that foreign investment benefits Tanzanian citizens.From an African perspective, this article argues that it is time to rethink investment treaty regimes to ensure that they do not hinder much-needed reforms.

Review of The Political Economy of the Investment Treaty Regime

In their new book, Jonathan Bonnitcha, LaugePoulsen and Michael Waibel develop a coherent structure for policy analysis of investment treaties that should attract interest as governments review their treaty policies. It argues that investment treaties as currently applied often appear poorly tailored to address identifiable economic concerns.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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.