BITs

Consent to Arbitration Through National Investment Legislation

National investment codes[1] may function as potential sources of international investment law. In other words, states may make unilateral undertakings within the framework of national investment legislations and, as a result, be considered as having “created international obligation[s]”.[2] The addressees of national investment legislations are foreign investors as well as the state that is itself […]

Mission Creep: International Investment Agreements and Sovereign Debt Restructuring

As members of the Eurozone are now acutely aware, the lack of a sovereign debt restructuring regime is one of the most glaring gaps in the international financial architecture. That said, this summer’s decision by a tribunal of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), which grants a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) jurisdiction […]

The Netherlands: A Gateway to ‘Treaty Shopping’ for Investment Protection

It is an established fact that many transnational companies choose the jurisdiction of the Netherlands as a base for their global trade and investment operations, at least partly because of the country’s favourable tax regime that facilitates corporate tax avoidance strategies.[1] A new report by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) entitled “Dutch […]

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  |  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  |  October 1, 2009

Advisory committee submits report on the United States model bilateral investment treaty

By Damon Vis-Dunbar 2 October 2009 An advisory committee to the U.S. Department of State and the Office of the United States Trade Representative has issued its report on the United States’ model bilateral investment treaty. The United States is reviewing its model BIT with an emphasis on three topics in particular: (a) dispute settlement […]

ITN  |  September 1, 2009

United States Trade Representative and State Department hold Public Hearing and Solicit Written Comments in US Model BIT Review

By Elizabeth Whitsitt 2 September 2009 Last updated five years ago, the United States’ Model Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) is currently under review by the US Administration to ensure that it is consistent with the public interest and the overall U.S. economic agenda. As previously reported in the June 2009 edition of ITN*, an investment […]

ITN  |  July 15, 2009

South African trade department critical of approach taken to BIT-making

By Damon Vis-Dunbar 15 July 2009 A position paper published by the Government of South Africa takes a critical posture towards the country’s bilateral investment treaties (BITs). “Existing international investment agreements are based on a 50-year-old model that remains focused on the interests of investors from developed countries.” writes the Department of Trade and Industry […]

ITN  |  June 8, 2009

Norway shelves its draft model bilateral investment treaty

By Damon Vis-Dunbar 8 June 2009 Norway has abandoned a draft model bilateral investment treaty (BIT), following public input that was largely critical. The draft text of the model BIT, released to the public in December 2007, features a number of innovations over previous Norwegian BITs, including transparent investor-state dispute settlement procedures, the requirement to […]

ITN  |  June 5, 2009

United States reviews its model bilateral investment treaty

By Damon Vis-Dunbar 5 June 2009 The United States has embarked on a review of its model bilateral investment treaty (BIT). Last updated in 2004, the US closely adheres to the model in its BIT negotiations with other countries. The BIT review follows campaign pledges by President Barack Obama, in which he committed to “ensure […]

ITN  |  April 30, 2009

Do Bilateral Investment Treaties Lead to More Foreign Investment?

By Damon Vis-Dunbar and Henrique Suzy Nikiema 30 April 2009 The global network of over 2600 bilateral investment treaties (BITs) has been built on the basis of promoting foreign direct investment (FDI), and yet, after a decade of research, whether in fact BITs lead to an increase in FDI flows is a matter of debate. There […]

ITN  |  March 16, 2009

Reflections on Pakistan’s investment-treaty program after 50 years: an interview with the former Attorney General of Pakistan, Makhdoom Ali Khan

By Lauge Skovgaard Poulsen and Damon Vis-Dunbar 16 March 2009 Pakistan inked the first ever bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with the government of West Germany 50 years ago, before going on to accumulate one of the largest portfolios of BITs held by a developing country: some 47 in total, 35 of which were signed in […]

ITN  |  February 6, 2009

U.S. academics urge the Obama administration to improve the international investment regime

By Damon Vis-Dunbar 6 February 2009 Faculty at Columbia University in New York have called on U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration to address “imperfections” in the international legal regime that governs foreign investment. In a letter to the President, the academics write: “While the current international investment regime has been heralded as a great success, […]

ITN  |  December 15, 2008

Se Debaten Méritos de Arbitraje entre Inversor-Estado en Seminario de Arbitraje Internacional auspiciado por Fiscal General ecuatoriano

Por Fernando Cabrera Díaz 9 de Diciembre, 2008 El 1-2 de diciembre Noticias sobre Tratados de Inversión asistió a un seminario de dos días sobre arbitraje internacional en Quito, Ecuador, auspiciado por la Procuraduría General de Ecuador. El seminario se enfocó en el arbitraje internacional de inversión y su relación con la soberanía estatal. Se […]

ITN  |  December 10, 2008

re: Investment Arbitration in Brazil: Yes or No?

As an arbitrator and one who does not have any connection with the Brazilian legal system, I  can more particularly identify with the views of Weiler and de Oliveira. I can understand the confidence that Brazilians may have in their own courts when faced with the issue of resolving international investment disputes and the question […]

ITN  |  December 9, 2008

Merits of investor-state arbitration debated at international arbitration seminar hosted by Ecuador’s Attorney General

By Fernando Cabrera Diaz 9 December 2008 On 1-2 December Investment Treaty News attended a two-day seminar on international arbitration in Quito, Ecuador, hosted by Ecuador’s Attorney General’s Office. The seminar focused on international investment arbitration and its relation to state sovereignty. Opinions from different sides of the debate were voiced, including from Ecuadorean government […]

ITN  |  December 8, 2008

Arbitrajes de Inversión en Brasil: ¿Si o No?

Por Elizabeth Whitsitt y Damon Vis-Dunbar 30 de Noviembre de 2008 En 1991, Brasil inició uno de los programas de privatización más grandes del mundo, vendiendo más de US$100 mil millones en activos. Diecisiete años más tarde, y con un Producto Interno Bruto (PIB) que califica como número diez en el mundo, Brasil es un […]

Investment Arbitration in Brazil: Yes or No?

By Elizabeth Whitsitt and Damon Vis-Dunbar30 November 2008 In 1991, Brazil began one of the world’s largest privatization programs, selling more than US$100 billion worth of assets. Seventeen years later and with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that ranks tenth in the world, Brazil is an industrial power that, according to the World Bank, is […]

ITN  |  November 10, 2008

Forum for developing country investment treaty negotiators held in Marrakech

On 2-4 November 2008, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the South Centre, and the Moroccan Department of Investment held the 2nd Annual Forum of Developing Country Investment Negotiators in Marrakech, Morocco. The First Annual Forum of Developing Country Investment Negotiators was held in Singapore on 1-2 October 2007, and was attended by over 30 negotiators […]

An interview with Professor John Ruggie, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General on Business & Human Rights

1 October 2008 Professor John Ruggie was appointed to be Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on business & human rights in 2005. Prof. Ruggie is also the Kirkpatrick Professor of International Affairs and Weil Director of the Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar Rahmani Center for Business and Government, as well as Affiliated Professor in […]

Awards  |  September 10, 2008

Continental Casualty Company v. the Argentine Republic: Argentina emerges largely victorious in dispute related to country’s financial crisis

By Damon Vis-Dunbar September 10, 2008 In an award rendered on September 5, 2008, an arbitral tribunal has dismissed all but one of the claims brought by an American investor, Continental Casualty, against the government of Argentina. Argentina was found liable for damages of US$ 2.8 million plus interest: a fraction of the US$ 112 […]

ITN  |  August 25, 2008

Entrevista con Alejandro Faya-Rodríguez, asesor jurídico especial, Ministerio de Economía mexicano

Alejandro Faya-Rodríguez fue Director General Adjunto de Asuntos Internacionales de la Dirección General de Inversión Extranjera del Ministerio de Economía de México hasta marzo pasado. En dicho cargo negoció diez tratados bilaterales de inversión y un capítulo de inversión en el marco de un acuerdo de libre comercio. Recientemente, pasó a ocupar un cargo como […]

ITN  |  August 11, 2008

TDM Call for Papers: The Notion of Investment – In Search of an Acceptable Definition

Transnational Dispute Management (TDM) is announcing a special issue dedicated to the notion of investment. The theme of the issue is: “The notion of investment: in search of an acceptable definition“. Contributions are invited from prospected authors with unpublished or previously published articles, conference papers, research papers, case studies. The recent arbitration awards where the […]

ITN  |  July 28, 2008

An interview with Alejandro Faya-Rodriguez, special legal advisor, Mexican Ministry of Economy

17 July 2008Alejandro Faya-Rodriguez was the Deputy Director-General for International Affairs of the Directorate-General of Foreign Investment at the Mexican Ministry of Economy until last March, where he negotiated ten bilateral investment treaties and one investment chapter within a free trade agreement. He recently moved to a new post as a senior legal advisor to […]

ITN  |  July 17, 2008

Analysis: Latin America’s new model bilateral investment treaties

By Damon Vis-Dunbar 17 July 2008 For the longest time, bilateral investment treaties were quintessential bureaucrats’ agreements. Terse and technical, these treaties were drafted by a handful of trade officials, with little consideration for their wider ramifications for public policy. On the surface, therefore, many investment treaties look surprisingly similar. Although, they contain certain nuances […]