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News  |  July 4, 2022

OECD releases model rules and technical guidance for countries to implement a global minimum tax

In December, the OECD released model Global Anti-Base Erosion Rules (GloBE) rules for countries to implement a global minimum tax and for companies to adhere to. It subsequently published detailed technical guidance on these model rules in the form of a commentary and examples.

News  |  July 4, 2022

Intergovernmental Working Group continues work to develop a draft Convention on the Right to Development

The UN Convention on the Right to Development is a multilateral framework currently being negotiated by the UN General Assembly Human Rights Council and drafted by a tasked drafting committee. It stems from the 1986 UN Declaration on the Right to Development, which establishes development as a right and puts people at the centre of the development process.

News  |  July 4, 2022

OECD Conference on Investment Treaties and Climate Change Policy

On May 10, 2022, the OECD held its seventh Annual Investment Treaty Conference on the nexus of investment treaties and climate change policy. The event took place following unprecedented warnings by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change about the problematic role played by investment treaties as an obstacle to climate action.

News  |  July 4, 2022

World Investment for Development Alliance launches at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

The World Investment for Development Alliance (WIDA) is a global platform that aims to bring together stakeholders to identify and address investment challenges and opportunities to foster sustainable development. It focuses on facilitating coordination and cooperation between leading actors and initiatives working on investment for development.

News  |  July 4, 2022

UNCITRAL WGIII continues work on ISDS reform ahead of the 43rd formal session in September 2022

Draft code of conduct for legal decision-makers still under discussion In accordance with its work plan, UNCITRAL WGIII is continuing to make progress on ISDS reform. At its 42nd session, held in hybrid format from February 14 to 18, 2022, WGIII continued its consideration of the draft code of conduct and the draft standing multilateral […]

News  |  June 30, 2022

Key Questions Remain as Governments Announce “Agreement in Principle” for Modernized Energy Charter Treaty

After a lengthy negotiation process, Contracting Parties at the June 24 meeting of the Energy Charter Conference reached an agreement in principle to modernize the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT)—an outdated investment treaty that protects fossil fuel investors at the expense of critical climate action.

News  |  March 30, 2022

The new Work Programme on the Future of Investment Treaties at the OECD

Following discussions at the Freedom of Investment Roundtable in 2021, the OECD has launched a new Work Programme on the Future of Investment Treaties.

News  |  March 30, 2022

Another round of ECT negotiations

From March 1 to 4, 2022, the contracting parties of the ECT met for their 11th round of negotiations for a possible reform of the treaty. The meeting was overshadowed by rising energy prices and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which is likely to have significant consequences for the European energy market.

News  |  March 30, 2022

Dissent in Odyssey v. Mexico

The tribunal in the NAFTA-based arbitration of Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. v. United Mexican States has declared inadmissible the amicus curiae brief submitted by the Centre for International Environmental Law (CIEL) in collaboration with Sociedad Cooperativa de Producción Pesquera Puerto Chale (Cooperativa).

News  |  March 30, 2022

European Commission proposes directive for corporate due diligence on climate, human rights

The European Commission has adopted a proposal on requiring EU companies to conduct “due diligence” processes related to their human rights and environmental impacts. Some businesses would also be required to align their business strategies with limiting global warming to 1.5°C. The directive also extends to companies’ subsidiaries and value chains.

News  |  March 30, 2022

Structured discussions on investment facilitation: Developments over the last 4 months

On December 10, 2021, WTO members who are signatories to the Joint Statement Initiative on investment facilitation adopted a statement (contained in document WT/L/1130). In this statement, they welcomed the progress made in negotiations, “aiming to conclude the text negotiations by the end of 2022.”

News  |  March 30, 2022

UNCITRAL Working Group III continues its work on ISDS reform at its 42nd session

In accordance with the third phase of its mandate, as well as the work planning and resourcing plan adopted at its 40th session, UNCITRAL Working Group III (WGIII) has continued its work on ISDS reform in 2022, with a focus on the draft code of conduct for international investment adjudicators, which was already the sole topic on the agenda of the 41st session and the subject of an informal meeting in December 2021.

News  |  December 20, 2021

UNCITRAL WGIII continues work on adjudicator code of conduct

The UNCITRAL WGIII on ISDS reform held its 41st session from November 15–19, 2021, with delegates participating both in person and virtually. Discussions focused on the proposed Draft Code of Conduct for Adjudicators in International Investment Disputes and its attendant note on Means of Implementation and Enforcement.

News  |  December 20, 2021

Structured discussions on investment facilitation continue during lead-up to now-postponed ministerial conference

Over these last months, participating WTO members have continued work on new proposals as well as on the “Easter Text” (circulated by the coordinator of the structured discussions in mid-April), which has become the basis for negotiations.

News  |  December 18, 2021

ECT modernization negotiations continue while agreement attracts criticism for impact on climate

Since our last report, two more negotiation rounds have taken place on ECT modernization. The seventh round took place from October 28–November 1, 2021, while the eighth round was held from November 9–11, 2021.

News  |  October 8, 2021

ECT modernization negotiations continue with two rounds over the summer as opposition mounts

Since we last reported on the process, there have been two virtual negotiation rounds on ECT modernization, taking place in the midst of increased civil society opposition to the agreement, particularly within the EU.

News  |  October 7, 2021

Structured discussions on investment facilitation continue at the WTO

Following the circulation of the “Easter text” last April, which consolidated the two main negotiating documents used in the negotiations (the Informal Consolidated Text and the Revised Text), and will serve as the main basis for drafting any ultimate agreement on investment facilitation, participants in the structured discussions on investment facilitation have continued to meet over the last several months.

News  |  October 7, 2021

UNCITRAL WGIII to consider proposals on various elements of ISDS reform while the outcome of the request for additional funding remains to be seen

As we reported, UNCITRAL WGIII on ISDS reform held its 40th session in May 2021, at which time delegates discussed a draft work and resourcing plan.

News  |  October 7, 2021

Ecuador rejoins the ICSID Convention

Twelve years after it denounced the agreement, Ecuador has again ratified the ICSID Convention. The agreement came back into force on September 3, following the deposit of the instrument of ratification with the World Bank on August 21.

News  |  October 7, 2021

Spain and Colombia sign new BIT

The prime minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, and the president of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez, signed a new BIT on September 16, 2021. Both countries sought to modernize the previous treaty, which had come into force in 2005.

News  |  October 7, 2021

Pakistan terminates 23 BITs

The government of Pakistan has reportedly resolved to terminate 23 of the country’s 48 BITs that have completed their initial duration. Additionally, the country will not ratify 16 BITs that have been signed but have yet to enter into force.

News  |  October 7, 2021

UNWG on Business and Human Rights releases 2021 report

On July 27, 2021, the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights published its 2021 Report on Human Rights-Compatible IIAs.

News  |  June 24, 2021

Progress Is Made in Structured Discussions on Investment Facilitation

WTO members involved in the “structured discussions” on investment facilitation met on several occasions during the first quarter of 2021. These meetings culminated with the circulation of the “Easter Text,” an important milestone in the talks that brings together several earlier drafts and texts in one document. This text will serve as the main basis for drafting any ultimate agreement on investment facilitation.

News  |  June 24, 2021

UNCITRAL WGIII Reconvenes to Discuss Work and Resourcing Plan; Civil society observers raise concerns

The UNCITRAL WGIII convened, with delegates able to attend virtually or in-person, from May 4–5, 2021 for the resumption of its 40th session. On the agenda was consideration of the draft work and resourcing plan.

News  |  June 24, 2021

Outlook for the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment Unclear, as EU Parliament Votes to Suspend Ratification Efforts

On May 20, 2021, the European Parliament voted to suspend ratification efforts of the “in principle” Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) with China.

News  |  June 24, 2021

European Energy Disputes Update

As we reported, German-owned energy company Uniper put the Netherlands on notice of an investment dispute last year, following the announcement of the country’s plan to phase out coal-burning power plants by 2030. Alongside RWE, another German energy company, Uniper made good on that threat earlier this year; both companies initiated ICSID claims lodged under the ECT this spring.

News  |  June 24, 2021

Canada Publishes 2021 Model Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement

On May 13, 2021, Canada announced that it had finalized its 2021 Model Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA), which will replace the 2014 version. According to Global Affairs Canada, the agreement is the result of “extensive public consultations initiated in 2018 with a broad range of stakeholders, including from civil society and labour unions, legal experts, representatives of all sizes of Canadian business, representatives of provinces and territories, and Indigenous partners.”

News  |  March 23, 2021

Progress report on ECT modernization negotiations indicates familiar divisions among delegations as push for EU withdrawal grows

Following three negotiation rounds on ECT modernization last year, the most recent of which concluded on November 6, 2020, a leaked progress report from December 2020 suggests that state parties are still divided on key issues. This makes progress in negotiations, which require consensus from the national delegations, difficult to come by.

News  |  March 23, 2021

EU and China announce an “in principle” investment agreement

On December 30, 2020, after seven years of discussion, Brussels and Beijing announced the conclusion of the negotiations for an “in principle” Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) between China and the European Union.

News  |  March 23, 2021

French consortium kicks off an ICSID claim against Chile after USD 37 million loss due to COVID-19 Pandemic

On January 19, 2021, the main shareholders of a consortium controlling the billion-dollar concession for Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benítez international airport informed Chilean President Sebastián Piñera of their intention to initiate an ICSID claim. The investors claimed they had suffered losses as a consequence of measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

News  |  March 23, 2021

UNCITRAL Working Group III: 40th Session focused on elements of structural reform

The UNCITRAL Working Group III (WGIII) convened virtually from February 8 to 12 for its 40th session. During this session, the group’s deliberations focused on two main issues related to structural reform of  ISDS: the selection and appointment of ISDS tribunal members in the context of a “Standing mechanism” or “Standing body” (A/CN.9/WG.III/WP.203) and an appellate mechanism (A/CN.9/WG.III/WP.202).

News  |  March 23, 2021

CETA Investment Court System advances toward implementation while Irish activists launch campaign opposing ratification

Four decisions adopted by Canada and the European Union on January 29 have moved the parties closer to implementing an Investment Court System (ICS) under the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).  The decisions on appeals, interpretation, code of conduct, and mediation were formally endorsed by CETA’s Joint Committee and Committee on Services and Investment (CSI) and will take effect once the dispute resolution provision of CETA comes into force.

News  |  December 19, 2020

EU investment screening

The EU’s foreign investment screening mechanisms became operational on October 11, 2020.  As we’ve reported, guidance on the screening mechanisms, which are implemented by individual member states, was released in March 2020 following the 2019 entry into force of the FDI Screening Regulation.

News  |  December 19, 2020

EC suggests withdrawal is a possibility as Energy Charter Treaty modernization negotiations continue

On December 2, 2020, in an answer to questions submitted by MEPs, the EC suggested that the EU could exit the ECT.

News  |  December 19, 2020

Asia-Pacific leaders sign RCEP

On November 15, 2020, 15 Asia-Pacific countries signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) nearly one year after negotiations came to a close.

News  |  December 19, 2020

UNCITRAL Working Group III pre-intersessional meeting on the use of mediation in ISDS

On November 9, 2020, the Asian Academy of International Law hosted a virtual event on the use of mediation in investor–state dispute settlement. This event is one of several being organized by UNCITRAL in parallel to the formal meetings of the Working Group III on investor–state dispute settlement reform.

News  |  December 19, 2020

IIA Reform Accelerator Launches

UNCTAD’s IIA Reform Accelerator launched in November 2020.

News  |  October 5, 2020

UNCITRAL Working Group III sessions to resume in October

Negotiators working on multilateral reform of the ISDS system will reconvene on October 5 to 9, 2020, in Vienna for their 39th session. This session, which was originally to be held in March and April 2020, was rescheduled in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

News  |  October 5, 2020

CETA faces hurdle after Cypriot parliament fails to ratify the agreement

On July 31, 2020, the Cypriot parliament voted against the ratification of CETA, the trade deal between the EU and Canada.

News  |  October 5, 2020

U.S.–Kenya FTA negotiations underway

The U.S. and Kenya formally launched negotiations on the US–Kenya FTA on July 8, 2020. If concluded, the agreement would be the first bilateral trade agreement between the U.S. and a sub-Saharan African state.

News  |  October 5, 2020

European Commission initiates infringement proceedings against the UK and Finland for failing to terminate intra-EU BITs

On May 14, 2020 the EC initiated infringement proceedings against the UK and Finland for failing to terminate the intra-EU BITs to which they are a party. Though the UK has formally left the European Union, EU law continues to apply to the UK during the transition period, which ends on December 31, 2020.

News  |  October 5, 2020

Investment facilitation talks move to negotiating phase

Following two years of “structured discussions,” the negotiations for a proposed WTO multilateral framework for investment facilitation (MFIF) are set to begin on September 24–25, 2020.

News  |  October 5, 2020

Update on EU trade and investment agreement negotiations: Indonesia, Mexico, Vietnam, and China

Negotiations for the Indonesia–EU FTA have been ongoing since 2016, with the ninth round taking place on June 15–26, 2020.

News  |  October 5, 2020

India moves to restrict foreign investment from its neighbours and bans dozens of Chinese apps

The government of India has recently enacted significant restrictions on inward FDI coming from its neighbours, in a move that seems calculated to target Chinese investment.

News  |  October 5, 2020

EU consultation on cross-border investment within the EU comes to an end

As we reported, the EC launched a consultation to clarify and supplement rules on cross-border investment within the EU in May 2020.

News  |  October 5, 2020

Latest round of talks on ECT modernization yields little progress on “modernization”; European officials call for removal of protection for fossil fuels and ISDS

Two rounds of the negotiations for the modernization of the ECT have been held over the past two months, from July 6 to 9 and September 8 to 11, 2020.

News  |  July 14, 2020

EC launches consultation on facilitating intra-EU investment

On May 26 2020, the EC launched a consultation to clarify and supplement rules on cross-border investment within the EU. According to the consultation document released by the EC, the EU currently faces a growing need for private investment – both for its efforts to mitigate climate change and remain competitive in an increasing digital […]

News  |  June 20, 2020

European Commission Releases Guidance for FDI Screening in Response to Global Pandemic

On March 25, 2020, the European Commission published a guidance for member states on FDI screening in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on, but not limited to, health-related industries.

News  |  June 20, 2020

Director-General of the World Trade Organization steps down unexpectedly

The director-general of the WTO, Roberto Azevêdo, announced on May 14, 2020, that he will be cutting his term short by one year and stepping down as of August 31. Azevêdo has served in the position since September 1, 2013, with his second term starting in 2017.

News  |  June 20, 2020

EU Releases Proposal for ECT Modernization

The EU released a proposal for the modernization of the  ECT on May 27, 2020.  This latest draft of the EU’s proposal includes changes to the treaty’s definition of investment, an affirmation of parties’ right to regulate, a narrower definition of FET, and reference to a multilateral investment court. The proposal also suggests several additional articles on sustainable development, frivolous claims, security for costs, interventions by third parties, third-party funding, and valuation of damages.