ITN

ITN  |  January 12, 2012

Resources and Events

Resources Investment Treaties and Why They Matter to Sustainable Development: Questions and Answers International Institute for Sustainable Development, December 2011 This handbook provides an accessible introduction to investment treaties and their relevance to sustainable development. The handbook provides a brief history of investment treaties, before delving into a discussion of the contents of these treaties […]

ITN  |  January 12, 2012

News in Brief

Philip Morris files for arbitration over intellectual property dispute with Australia The tobacco company Philip Morris filed for arbitration on 21 November 2011, claiming the government of Australia’s regulations on cigarette branding breach the Hong Kong-Australia bilateral investment treaty. The announcement arrived on the same day that the Australian Parliament passed legislation that bans most […]

Stabilization in investment contracts: Rethinking the context, reformulating the result

Over the past two decades, stabilization provisions in investment contracts (and in the domestic law in some developing countries) became a popular demand of investors into developing countries. Rarely used and largely unconstitutional in most developed countries,[1] these provisions essentially limit the ability of governments to have new laws and regulations apply to a foreign […]

Principles for responsible contracts: Integrating the management of human rights risks into State-investor contract negotiations

The UN shines a spotlight on business and human rights In July 2005, the then United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed John Ruggie as his Special Representative on Business and Human Rights. Ban Ki-Moon continued the appointment, and this June Ruggie delivered his final report to the Human Rights Council.  Ruggie’s mandate is highly significant […]

Going public to improve investment in agriculture

The public began to hunger for information about investment in the agriculture sector when a massive wave of foreign investment in farmland and water was triggered, in 2008, by a confluence of the biofuels boom, global food crisis, sharp spike in oil prices and the financial crisis. Alarming information started to emerge in the media. […]

Foreign investment contracts in the oil & gas sector: A survey of environmentally relevant clauses

The oil and gas industry faces increasingly strict environmental standards in developed countries. However, the majority of the world’s proven oil reserves are in developing countries and economies in transition, which often lack sophisticated regimes for environmental protection. Even when legislative frameworks are well developed, there are often deficiencies in capacity and an unwillingness to […]

ITN  |  October 7, 2011

News in Brief

More legal woes for Canada’s Feed-in Tariff program for renewable energy Canada could soon be faced with arbitration for alleged breach of its obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). On 6 July 2011, a Texas-based company, Mesa Power Group LLC, served Canada with a Notice of Intent to Submit a Claim to […]

ITN  |  October 7, 2011

Awards and Decisions

Mass claim in Argentine bond dispute is granted ICSID jurisdiction Abaclat and Others (Case formerly known as Giovanna A Beccara and Others) and The Argentine Republic, Decision on Jurisdiction and Admissibility, ICSID Case No. Arb/07/5 Damon Vis-Dunbar An ICSID tribunal has accepted jurisdiction to hear a claim by tens of thousands of Italians who claim […]

ITN  |  October 7, 2011

Resources and Events

Resources International Investment Arbitration and Public Policy website launched A website launched in late September, called International Investment Arbitration and Public Policy (IIAPP), offers a searchable database of materials in known arbitrations under investment treaties. Developed by a research team under the coordination of Professor Gus Van Harten of Osgoode Hall Law School, the website allows […]

ITN  |  July 12, 2011

Federalism and international investment disputes

One of the more politically controversial aspects of international investment protection treaties is the liability of a State when political sub-divisions are found to have breached that State’s treaty obligations to foreign investors. This issue is particularly significant in federal States, such as Canada, the United States, Australia or Germany, among others, where sub-national governments […]

ITN  |  July 12, 2011

Awards and Decisions

Swiss claimant fails jurisdictional stage for not qualifying as an ‘investor’ Alps Finance and Trade AG v. Slovak Republic Damon Vis-Dunbar A claim against the government of Slovakia has failed after a three-member tribunal declined jurisdiction. The tribunal determined that the claimant was not an “investor” as intended by the Switzerland-Slovakia bilateral investment treaty. In […]

ITN  |  July 12, 2011

News in Brief

Canada and Dow Chemical settle claim over pesticide ban A controversial NAFTA investment dispute between Dow AgroSciences and the government of Canada was settled this May. The settlement agreement involves no money exchanging hands, and the Province of Quebec will continue to restrict the use the lawn pesticides – the measure that prompted Dow to […]

ITN  |  July 12, 2011

Publications and Events

Recent Publications Foreign Direct Investment in LDCs: Lessons Learned from the Decade 2001-2010 and the Way Forward UNCTAD, April 2011 This report, prepared in preparation of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, gives a broad overview of the FDI trends in LDCs over the past decade. The study is divided into […]

Foreign investment contracts and sustainable development: The new foundations begin to emerge

Two international projects relating to foreign investment and sustainable development (SD) were completed in the past two months. These two projects individually and together show the emerging pathways to properly considering the linkages between new investments and SD in the host state and community. The first of these projects to be launched, on 4 April […]

Philip Morris v. Uruguay: Will investor-State arbitration send restrictions on tobacco marketing up in smoke?

For nearly two decades, the tobacco industry has used international investment rules to challenge governmentrestrictions on cigarette marketing.  In 1994, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company threatened to bring a claim under the North American Free Trade Agreement’s (NAFTA) investment chapter as part of its successful lobbying campaign against Canada’s proposed “plain packaging” legislation, which would have […]

ITN Quarterly July 2011

PDF – English (560 KB) – Français (550 KB) – Español (550 KB) Flip-Page – English  – Français – Español In this issue: Philip Morris v. Uruguay: Will investor-state arbitration send restrictions on tobacco marketing up in smoke?; Australia’s rejection of investor–state dispute settlement: Four potential contributing factors; Investment arbitration and the Canada–EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement: […]

Investment arbitration and the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement: Time for a change?

With the seventh round of negotiations between Canada and the European Union over the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) completed this April, and the eighth round scheduled for July, the involved nations are closer than ever to being subject to the investment arbitration provisions of another free trade agreement. Canadian critics of CETA […]

ITN  |  July 1, 2011

While the EU member states insist on the status quo, the European Parliament calls for a reformed European investment policy

The Lisbon Treaty, in force since 1 December 2009, added Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the exclusive common commercial policy of the European Union, without foreseeing any transition measures. Today the European institutions  are still wrangling over the scope and content of the new EU policy and the status of the more than 1200 existing […]

ITN  |  April 7, 2011

News in Brief

Working group moves slowly on agreement for transparency in UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules A working group of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) met from 7-11 February 2011 in New York to discuss public access to information about disputes between investors and states under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. The meeting marked the second […]

ITN  |  April 7, 2011

Awards and decisions

UK firm victorious in dispute with Russia, but damages much less than claimed RosInvestCo UK Ltd.  v. The Russian Federation, SCC Case No. Arb. V079/2005 Lise Johnson In an award dated 12 September 2010, the tribunal in RosInvestCo v. Russian Federation issued an award in which it found that the Russian Federation had unlawfully expropriated […]

ITN  |  April 7, 2011

Publications and events

Publications Newly published UNCTAD Series on Issues in International Investment Agreements II “Scope and Definition”, UNCTAD, March 2011 A new UNCTAD study titled “Scope and Definition” reviews how the concepts of “investment” and “investor” have been defined in international investment agreements (IIAs), and how different definitions have affected countries hosting foreign direct investment (FDI). The […]

The problem of moral hazard and its implications for the protection of ‘legitimate expectations’ under the fair and equitable treatment standard

While the concepts of sovereignty, human rights, the environment and the rule of law are often invoked in public debate about international investment treaties (IITs), there is relatively little discussion of the economic effects of such treaties.[1] One of the most powerful legal protections provided by IITs is the protection of foreign investor’s ‘legitimate expectations’ under fair and equitable treatment (FET) provisions, which are common to most IITs. This article draws on economic theory—specifically, the notion of moral hazard—to elucidate some of the problems with broader interpretations of the doctrine of legitimate expectations.

When international rules interact: International investment law and the law of armed conflict

The last two decades have witnessed an exponential increase in arbitral disputes between investors and states under international investment treaties. UNCTAD reports 357 known registered cases by the end of 2009; of those, 202 cases—or 57 percent—were initiated after 2004.[1] Independent investment tribunals now regularly render binding decisions as to whether states have violated investment protection standards guaranteed under various bilateral and multilateral investment treaties—a phenomenon that has turned international investment law into one of the most dynamic fields of public international law.

Reforming United States trade and investment treaties for financial stability: The case of capital controls

This short essay discusses new evidence in the economics profession showing that capital controls are important macro-prudential measures that nations should have in their toolkit to prevent and mitigate financial crises. More importantly for this publication, it will be shown that United States trade and investment treaties do not reflect the emerging consensus on capital controls. There is a unique opportunity to rectify this problem as the United States finalizes its new model bilateral investment treaty (BIT) and moves forward on negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) with numerous Pacific Rim nations. Moreover, an opportunity for reform lies in the pending Congressional votes on Bush-era trade deals such as those with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama.

Freezing government policy: Stabilization clauses in investment contracts

To a significant extent the site of debate about the terms of globalization and its relationship to the regulatory state has shifted from the World Trade Organization to the world of investment treaties and arbitration. Investment treaties typically confer on a foreign investor a right to sue a host state that has allegedly failed to comply with a number of substantive obligations, typical among them the requirement to compensate for expropriation, fair and equitable treatment, and national treatment.

ITN Quarterly December 2010

English (PDF – 400 KB) – Français (PDF – 400 KB) – Español (PDF – 400 KB) In this issue: 2010 midterm congressional elections on the United States; Fairness and independence in investment arbitration; A Global Thirst: How water is driving the new wave of foreign investment in farmland; UNCATD’s 2010 World Investment Forum.

2010 midterm congressional elections in the United States: Implications for new U.S. International Investment Agreements

The Republican victories in U.S. congressional elections on 2 November 2010 are widely assumed to have increased the odds that the Obama administration will proceed with new bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and free trade agreements (FTAs) containing investment chapters. But this assumption bear closer examination. The post-election situation is complex.

UNCTAD’s 2010 World Investment Forum: High-level experts discuss investment policies for sustainable development

The 2010 World Investment Forum (WIF), held on 6-9 September 2010, in Xiamen, China, turned UNCTAD into the global gravity center for open, universal, inclusive and high-level international investment discourse and policy formation. Eight events and conferences were attended by more than 1,800 participants from 120 countries and 16 international organisations, among them nine heads of State, four heads of international organisations, 79 ministerial-level officials, and 116 senior business executives.

ITN  |  December 16, 2010

News in Brief

European Union institutions consider the EU’s future international investment policy Debate on the future of the European Union’s international investment policy is heating up as EU institutions weigh in with their recommendations. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, the EU received exclusive competence over foreign direct investment, which […]

ITN  |  December 16, 2010

Awards and decisions

Georgia loses dispute with Greek and Israeli oil investors Ioannis Kardassopoulos and Ron Fuchs v. The Republic of Georgia (ICSID Case Nos. ARB/05/18 and ARB/07/15) Martin D. Brauch Two oil traders have been awarded more than US$45 million each in damages from the Republic of Georgia in an ICSID award that advances a broad interpretation […]

Fairness and independence in investment arbitration: A critique of “Development and Outcomes of Investment Treaty Arbitration”

There has been recent interest in the use of quantitative research tools to evaluate the fairness and independence of investment arbitration. In this article, Professor Gus Van Harten critiques one of the most prominent studies to examine this question. While the study in question, “Development and Outcomes of Investment Treaty Arbitration” (2009), has been used in some policy circles to support the argument that investment arbitration functions fairly, Van Harten argues it has limitations that prevent such conclusions.

A global thirst: How water is driving the new wave of foreign investment in farmland

It is no longer a secret that there is a new wave of foreign investment in farmland, predominantly in Africa. An explosion of media reports and a series of studies by the World Bank, Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), have confirmed the scale and consequences of this new influx of foreign investment. The World Bank report, by far the most comprehensive, found that reported deals amounted to 45 million hectares in 2009 alone.

ITN  |  December 16, 2010

Publications and events

Recent Publications The EU Approach to International Investment Policy after the Lisbon Treaty European Commission Directorate-General for Exernal Policies, Policy Department, 2010 This report provides analysis on the challenges and options with respect to the EU’s approach to international investment policy post-Lisbon Treaty. The report argues that the Lisbon treaty’s extension of EU exclusive competence […]

ITN  |  September 23, 2010

News In Brief*

  *These are abridged versions of articles originally published by the independent news service Investment Arbitration Reporter (http://www.iareporter.com/). They are used with permission and may not be reproduced without the express permission of IAReporter.   Parties announce settlement of dispute over German power plant 28.8.2010 A Swedish power company and the Federal Republic of Germany […]

ITN  |  September 23, 2010

Publications and Events

Public Statement on the International Investment Regime Academics from 30 universities across 11 countries have lent their signature to a statement pronouncing concern that the international investment regime hampers the ability of governments to act in the public interest. The statement draws particular attention to investor-state arbitration—the common means to settle investment disputes under international […]

ITN  |  September 23, 2010

Awards and Decisions

Argentina on the hook for breach of Fair and Equitable Treatment Suez, Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona S.A., and Vivendi Universal v. Argentine Republic (ICSID Case No. ARB/03/19) Lise Johnson On 30 July 2010, the ICSID tribunal in Suez, Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona S.A., and Vivendi Universal v. Argentina issued a decision […]

ITN  |  September 23, 2010

Procedural requirements for arbitrator challenges: Finding fault with CEMEX v. Venezuela

One fundamental principle of investor-State arbitration is the ability of parties to have their disputes resolved by independent and impartial arbitrators. In order to ensure adherence to this principle, laws and rules governing investor-State arbitrations grant parties the right to challenge arbitrators lacking these qualifications. Given the importance of ensuring arbitrator independence and impartiality, and as evidenced by the recent decision in and subsequent commentary on Vivendi v. Argentina, practitioners and stakeholders in investor-State arbitrations are devoting significant efforts to defining the substantive standards warranting arbitrator challenges, and to understanding what those standards require in practice.

ITN  |  September 23, 2010

Bilateral Investment Treaties and Preferential Trade Agreements: Is a BIT really better than a lot?

With the often costly and far-reaching implications when investors use Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) to adjudicate claims against developing countries, governments in the developing world need powerful arguments to justify that these treaties are in their national interest. One notable contribution to this debate has recently been put forth by political scientists Jennifer Tobin and Mark Busch, who set out to investigate the link between BITs and preferential trade agreements (PTAs). Using statistical techniques, they analyse annual data on pairs of developing and developed countries between 1960 and 2004 and conclude that BITs “raise the prospects of getting a North-South PTA with all the deeper and reciprocal obligations that these entail.”

ITN  |  September 23, 2010

Arbitrator appointments in investment arbitration: Why expressed views on points of law should be challengeable

Tony Cole The aspect of international investment arbitration that is perhaps most consistently condemned by critics of the system is the role played in the resolution of investment disputes by non-permanent tribunals, constituted solely for deciding the case at hand, and consisting of individuals drawn primarily from the world of international commercial arbitration. Such tribunals, […]

The transparency requirement in the new UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules: A premonitory view

Ignacio Torterola  In October, State delegations are expected to discuss the issue of transparency in the UNCITRAL Rules of Arbitration.  Ignacio Torterola, ICSID Liaison at the Argentine Embassy in Washington, DC, and Argentine Delegate to the UNCITRAL Working Group II, explains why greater openness would benefit the investment arbitration system.  Some preliminary considerations Working Group […]

ITN  |  September 23, 2010

The IBA’s Model Mining Development Agreement: A new paradigm for natural resource projects

IISD In October 2009, at its annual meeting in Madrid, the Mining Law Committee of the International Bar Association launched a project to develop a Model Mining Development Agreement (MMDA).  The MMDA was conceived to provide a different starting point for the negotiation of mining contracts between host governments and mining companies, one based expressly […]

The EU’s international investment policy: Hardware without the software

Ramon Torrent The Lisbon Treaty broadens European commercial policy in what marks the latest milestone in a long (and unfinished) journey in which the EC/EU has sought to extend its exclusive competence over the entire area of external economic relations. Towards this goal, the European Commission has always led the course, albeit with limited success. […]

Reclaiming the public interest in Europe’s international investment policy: Will the future EU BITs be any better than the 1200 existing BITs of EU member states?

The Lisbon Treaty has shifted the competence related to Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) from the European Union Member States to the Union and has added it to the Union’s exclusive common commercial policy. This transfer of competence not only requires the development of a common EU investment policy, but also legislative steps to clarify the status of the 1200 existing Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) of the EU Member States and their ongoing BIT negotiations. This offers a unique opportunity for an assessment of the existing BITs and for an open and broad discussion on the future European international investment policy.

Towards a comprehensive European international investment policy: An interview with Tomas Baert, European Commission, Directorate General for Trade, Services and Investment

With the EU’s Lisbon Treaty granting the European Union competence over Foreign Direct Investment, the European Commission released two documents in July that help chart the way forward: a draft regulation on how to deal with existing Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) of the EU Member States over the next five years, and a Communication that […]

ITN  |  May 11, 2010

Philip Morris initiates arbitration against Uruguay over new labeling requirements, taxes

By Fernando Cabrera Diaz May 11, 2010 Tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI) has initiated an ICSID arbitration against Uruguay over new rules requiring that 80% of cigarette pack surfaces be devoted to graphic warnings of the dangers associated with smoking. The company alleges that the labeling requirements and recent tax increase harm its investments […]

ITN  |  May 11, 2010

German investor awarded 29 million Euros in claim against Thailand over highway concession

By Fernando Cabrera Diaz May 11, 2010 An ad hoc tribunal under UNCTIRAL Rules has awarded German investor Walter Bau AG more than 30 million Euros in its claim against Thailand over a tollway concession gone sour.  The tribunal found that the failure of Thai authorities to approve toll hikes as contemplated in the concession […]

ITN  |  May 11, 2010

ICSID Panel Denies Ukraine’s Challenge to Arbitrator

By Elizabeth Whitsitt May 11, 2010 On March 19, 2010 two members of an ICSID arbitral tribunal – the Honourable Davis R. Robinson (President) and Dr. Stanimir A. Alexandrov – dismissed the Ukraine’s challenge to the tribunal’s third member, Dr. Yoram Turbowicz. Arbitral proceedings between Alpha Projektholding GMBH (Alpha) and the Ukraine began in 2007 […]

ITN  |  May 11, 2010

Pan American Energy takes Bolivia to ICSID over nationalization of Chaco Petroleum

By Fernando Cabrera Diaz May 11, 2010 Anglo-Argentinean energy firm Pan American Energy (PAE) has initiated arbitration against Bolivia over the nationalization of its subsidiary Chaco Petroleum by the Morales government in 2009.  The arbitration was registered by ICSID on April 12 2010, despite Bolivia having withdrawn from the ICSID Convention in 2007. A PAE […]

ITN  |  May 11, 2010

American gas services firm Exterran files for arbitration against Venezuela over nationalized assets

By Fernando Cabrera Diaz May 11, 2010 (NOTE: A correction has been made to this article.  An explanation is posted below) Houston-based Exterran Holdings has taken Venezuela to ICSID over the nationalization of its gas services support business in the country.  The arbitration, registered by ICSID on April 12, 2010, is the second in as […]

ITN  |  May 11, 2010

Michigan owner and operator of busy trade route prepares to file a second NAFTA claim against Canada

By Elizabeth Whitsitt May 11, 2010 A Notice of Intent forwarded to Canada earlier this year by US owner and operator of the Ambassador Bridge contends that the Canadian government has violated its obligations under NAFTA Chapter 11. Facilitating a significant amount of trade between the US and Canada, the Ambassador Bridge is an international […]