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.”
They concern you more than you know: On the perils and potential of international investment agreements for the Agreement on TRIPS and COVID-19 discussions at the WTO
Talks on a possible COVID-19-related Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) decision aimed at scaling up vaccine and therapeutics production and equitable distribution continue, despite the postponement of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference. Without coordination between a TRIPS decision and WTO members’ IIA obligations, these obligations could significantly reduce any decision’s effectiveness.
This article highlights three key areas where WTO Members need to be wary about unintended interactions between the proposed Multilateral Framework on Investment Facilitation (MFIF) and IIAs. It also comments on the effectiveness of proposed attempts to separate the MFIF developed by the trade community from the broader IIA regime, whose reform is being coordinated and led within the United Nations through UNCTAD and UNCITRAL.
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.
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.
The 101 WTO members discussing a proposed multilateral framework on investment facilitation are now considering a new “consolidated text,” which is meant to be a stepping stone for formal negotiations once these begin.
Los 99 miembros de la OMC participantes de los debates estructurados sobre un posible marco multilateral para la facilitación de las inversiones están preparándose para pasar al modo negociación desde marzo del 2020 en adelante, en un intento por anunciar un “resultado concreto” en la 12ª Conferencia Ministerial de la OMC a realizarse en Nur-Sultan, Kazakstán, en junio de 2020.
The UNCTAD High-Level IIA Conference, held in Geneva, Switzerland, in November 2019 featured a session dedicated to investment facilitation and promotion.
The joint initiative being pursued by 92 WTO members on developing a multilateral framework on investment facilitation has reached a new phase, with various new participants involved and a push for significant progress ahead of a December stocktaking meeting.
The 70 WTO members participating in the structured discussions on a possible multilateral framework on investment facilitation concluded their current phase of work in late July and are reportedly looking to “intensify” their efforts after the organization’s annual August hiatus.
Investment Facilitation at the WTO: An attempt to bring a controversial issue into an organization in crisis
The structured discussions on investment facilitation (IF) among 70 WTO members are now 18 months old. Participants are wrapping up their latest phase of work: considering examples of different issues and elements that could form the basis of a multilateral IF framework. The authors examine the history of investment discussions at the WTO and review how international investment governance in other forums has evolved in recent years. They examine what challenges can emerge in crafting IF disciplines, especially if these are binding, and the importance of considering which forums are most appropriate for IF-related discussions.
“Structured discussions” on a possible multilateral facilitation framework resumed in Geneva this past month. The meeting, held in early March, marked the first session of the new year, and begins a new phase in the structured discussions process. The WTO members involved previously met seven times during 2018, examining a series of overarching objectives that this framework could address.
International law has historically regulated foreign trade and foreign investment differently, leading to variances in treaty form, institutional culture and dispute settlement. However, economic, legal and sociological factors are now pushing the two systems together.
A meeting of the WTO General Council was suspended on May 10, 2017 after India objected to the adoption of the proposed agenda, which included a “trade and investment facilitation” item.
ICSID tribunal dismisses MFN clause in WTO GATS as a means of importing Senegal’s consent to arbitration from third party BIT
Menzies Middle East and Africa S.A. and Aviation Handling Services International Ltd. v. Republic of Senegal, ICSID Case No. ARB/15/21- Suzy H. Nikièma
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, […]
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; the pending WTO claims by Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia […]
Dealing With the Increasing Complexity of Investment-Related Treaties: A Framework and Some Policy Guidelines
Bilateral investment treaties used to be boilerplate: taken out of a drawer before official visits; signed with pomp and circumstance but not much attention to precise wording. Today, the diversity and ramifications of investment-related treaties are staggering.
As governments increasingly turn to renewable energy to mitigate climate change, domestic climate-related policies in the form of price support measures such as feed-in tariffs (FiTs) have played an important role in stimulating the much needed investment—public and private, domestic and foreign—in the sector. Feed-in tariffs are characterized by guaranteed electricity purchase prices (set higher […]
[T]he Tribunal must balance the legitimate and reasonable expectations of the Claimants with […] [the] right to regulate the provision of a vital public service. This quote from an investment arbitration tribunal highlights the relationship between international investment law and the regulation of public services. This essay illustrates areas of contention between the requirements of […]
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 […]