News

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.

News  |  June 20, 2020

EU Member States Sign Agreement to Terminate Intra-EU BITs While German Investor Brings Claim Against the Netherlands Under the ECT

On May 5, 2020, 23 European Union member states* formally agreed to the termination of intra-EU BITs.

News  |  June 20, 2020

USCMA to Enter into Force on July 1 Following Canada’s Rushed Ratification Earlier This Year

On April 24, 2020, USTR Robert Lighthizer announced that the USMCA would enter into force on July 1 of this year, one month later than was previously agreed upon.

News  |  June 20, 2020

COVID-19 Pandemic Pushes Back Start Date for AfCFTA Entry into Force

The entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Wamkele Mene. The first phase of the agreement will now take effect by January 2021 at the earliest.

News  |  June 20, 2020

Investment Facilitation Talks: WTO member group considers new consolidated text

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.

News  |  March 10, 2020

January UNCITRAL session considers appellate mechanism, standing court, and arbitrator and adjudicator issues

Negotiators working on multilateral reform solutions to ISDS reconvened in Vienna in January 2020 to resume their 38th session, holding talks around the possibility of an appellate mechanism, the benefits and challenges of setting up a permanent court on investment issues, and the process around choosing arbitrators and adjudicators.

News  |  March 10, 2020

Investment facilitation talks set sights on WTO MC12 outcome, prepare for negotiations

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.

News  |  March 10, 2020

ECT modernization: Conference meets in December 2019, sets stage for 2020 negotiating meetings

The negotiations for ECT modernization are now underway, with the first such meetings held in December 2019 and at least four other sessions planned over 2020.

News  |  March 10, 2020

China–EU investment talks: Negotiators debate new market access offers, eyeing 2020 outcome

The talks between China and the EU for a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment saw an important milestone in December 2019, as the two sides exchanged new market access offers. They had exchanged market access offers once previously, in July 2018.

News  |  March 10, 2020

Trump signs USMCA, bringing NAFTA’s replacement closer to entry into force

The United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) has been ratified and signed into law in the United States, bringing the trade and investment deal one step closer to entry into force. Of the three countries involved, the only one that has not completed its ratification processes is Canada.

News  |  March 10, 2020

Brexit: United Kingdom leaves EU amid questions on future trade, investment relationships

The United Kingdom’s exit from the EU formally took place on January 31, 2020, following years of talks and repeated extensions in the Brexit deadline. With the United Kingdom now in an 11-month transition period, questions remain over the shape of the country’s future trade and investment relationship with the EU and other partners, though some further indications of what this may entail are beginning to emerge.

News  |  March 10, 2020

Australia trade deals with Hong Kong, Peru enter into force, Indonesia agreement ratified

El nuevo año es testigo de la entrada en vigor de dos nuevos acuerdos comerciales que involucran a Australia; a saber, Perú y Hong Kong. Ambos acuerdos contienen capítulos de inversión y fueron ratificados por la legislatura australiana a fines de diciembre, junto con otro acuerdo que involucra a Indonesia.

News  |  March 10, 2020

EU parliamentarians endorse Vietnam trade, investment deals

El Parlamento Europeo ha dado luz verde a los acuerdos de comercio e inversión del bloque de 27 naciones con Vietnam, luego de siete años de iniciadas las negociaciones formales.

News  |  March 10, 2020

Coalition of civil society groups, trade unions caution against MIC option at UNCITRAL

A group of 20 civil society organizations and trade unions from the African continent have circulated a letter questioning the EU’s multilateral investment court (MIC) proposal in the context of the UNCITRAL Working Group III talks on multilateral ISDS reform and urging for a set of alternative proposals to advance instead.

News  |  December 17, 2019

UN Forum on Business and Human Rights highlights the importance of coherent policies

From November 25 to 27, 2019, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights hosted this year’s United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.

News  |  December 17, 2019

UNCTAD IIA Conference: WTO talks on investment facilitation take centre stage in break-out session

The UNCTAD High-Level IIA Conference, held in Geneva, Switzerland, in November 2019 featured a session dedicated to investment facilitation and promotion.

News  |  December 17, 2019

ECT modernization: Energy Charter Conference adopts mandate, confirms December talks

On November 6, 2019, the Energy Charter Conference confirmed that it would hold the first session of its “Modernization Group” on December 12, 2019, kicking off the process to revise the decades-old ECT.

News  |  December 17, 2019

Asia–Pacific leaders clinch RCEP trade and investment deal, pledge to continue talks with India

Leaders from 15 of the countries negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) announced on November 4, 2019, that they had clinched a deal that would govern trade and investment across a wide swath of the Asia–Pacific region.

News  |  December 17, 2019

Joint initiative on investment facilitation looks to “meaningful outcome” for WTO ministerial

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.

News  |  December 17, 2019

Nord Stream 2: Pipeline spat with EU evolves into ECT dispute

A long-simmering row over plans for two new pipelines that would carry natural gas from Russia into Germany has advanced quickly in recent months, after gas company Nord Stream 2 submitted a notice of arbitration against the EU under the ECT on September 26, 2019.

News  |  December 17, 2019

U.S. officials raise concerns over proposed MIC in talks with the United Kingdom, documents say

A set of documents purporting to capture the discussions of the United States–United Kingdom Trade and Investment Working Group from 2018 has recently been released into the public domain.

News  |  September 19, 2019

UNCITRAL secretariat publishes documents to be considered at October 2019 session of Working Group III on ISDS reform

Delegates to the UNCITRAL Working Group III process on multilateral ISDS reform will meet again in Vienna during the week of October 14–18, 2019.

News  |  September 19, 2019

ICSID rule amendment process: Third working paper released in August 2019, consultation with states scheduled for November 2019, approval expected for October 2020

On August 16, 2019, the ICSID secretariat released the third working paper featuring proposed rule amendments, based on inputs from member states and the public.

News  |  September 19, 2019

RCEP ministers: 2019 deal in sight, market access talks advancing swiftly

Negotiations for the RCEP trade and investment deal should be finalized by the end of 2019 and have seen notable progress on market access negotiations and services-related annexes, according to a statement issued in August by ministers from the 16 countries involved in the process.

News  |  September 19, 2019

EU–China investment negotiations: Advances on national treatment, financial services

Talks for an EU–China BIT have made some progress in the areas of financial services and national treatment, according to a report circulated by the European Commission in July, with another negotiating round planned for the week of September 23.

News  |  September 19, 2019

Investment facilitation: WTO members involved take stock of progress, look to intensify work

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.

News  |  September 19, 2019

African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) operational phase kicks off, with eyes on implementation and Phase II talks, including investment

The African Union formally kicked off the operational phase of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) during a high-level summit in Niger in early July 2019 that brought together heads of state and government from across the continent.

News  |  September 19, 2019

Energy Charter Treaty: EU Council endorses negotiating directives for Brussels

The European Council has approved negotiating directives for the EU’s participation in talks to modernize the ECT, confirming its decision during a meeting on July 2, 2019.

News  |  June 27, 2019

UNCITRAL Working Group III: July 15 deadline for submissions on proposed reform solutions

Delegates involved in the UNCITRAL Working Group III process on multilateral ISDS reform have until July 15, 2019 to submit to the UNCITRAL Secretariat their reform proposals and the timing for when such items may be considered in an overarching project schedule. That schedule would help guide the working group under Phase 3 of its mandate, which is devoted to crafting solutions to ISDS-related concerns.

News  |  June 27, 2019

EU Commission proposes negotiating directives for ECT modernization

The EC released on May 14 a set of draft negotiating directives setting out its proposed approach in “modernizing” the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).

News  |  June 27, 2019

AfCFTA enters into force; Phase II on investment, competition, IPRs to last through 2020–2021

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) entered into force on May 30, 2019, with the first phase of the deal taking effect for 24 countries. An extraordinary summit on the trade agreement is planned for July 7, 2019 in Niamey, Niger, while Phase II negotiations on intellectual property rights (IPRs), investment and competition policy are expected to take at least another year.

News  |  June 27, 2019

CJEU finds ICS in Canada–EU CETA to be in line with EU law

The CJEU has deemed that the ICS included in the Canada–EU CETA is consistent with EU law, issuing its final opinion on April 30, 2019.

News  |  June 27, 2019

Mexican Senate ratifies USMCA

The Mexican Senate approved the implementing legislation for the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) on June 19, 2019, by an overwhelming majority of 114 votes in favour, with less than a dozen against or abstaining.

News  |  June 27, 2019

China, EU leaders announce 2020 target for investment deal

Leaders from China and the EU have pledged to finalize negotiations for their Comprehensive Investment Agreement next year, announcing their target date and further details about the process during a summit in Brussels, Belgium, on April 9, 2019.

News  |  June 27, 2019

Australia inks new BIT with Uruguay, trade and investment deals with Hong Kong

Australia has signed a new BIT with Uruguay and an investment deal with Hong Kong. The agreements feature some changes or clarifications to past deals’ provisions on ISDS and on government regulations designed to fulfill public policy objectives, such as health.

News  |  April 23, 2019

Achmea judgement fallout: 22 EU member states agree to terminate intra-EU BITs

Twenty-two EU member states endorsed a political declaration on January 15, 2019, where they announced a series of actions involving existing intra-EU BITs and upcoming or ongoing investment arbitration.

News  |  April 23, 2019

European Economic and Social Committee recommends improvements, clarifications for MIC discussions

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has weighed in on the European Commission’s recommendation for a European Council decision to launch negotiations on the proposed MIC, supporting discussions on ISDS reform while noting areas for improvement.

News  |  April 23, 2019

CJEU Advocate General finds ICS in line with EU law, final court ruling pending

CJEU Advocate General Yves Bot issued a non-binding opinion on January 29, 2019, deeming that the ICS included in the Canada–EU CETA is compatible with EU law. Bot assessed the ICS against the EU Treaty, the TFEU and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

News  |  April 23, 2019

UN General Assembly adopts new convention on mediation involving international settlements

On December 21, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly has given its approval to a new “Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation,” which aims to answer past concerns by many countries over how to enforce mediation settlement agreements involving multiple countries.

News  |  April 23, 2019

New EU framework on foreign investment screening takes effect in April

The European Union’s new framework for screening FDI is due to take effect in April 2019, with the text now published in the EU’s Official Journal. The framework allows both EU member states and the European Commission until October 2020 to enact the changes required.

News  |  April 23, 2019

RCEP ministers take stock of negotiations, press for 2019 outcome

Ministers from the 16 countries negotiating RCEP gathered in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on March 2 for an intersessional meeting to take stock of negotiations and reaffirm their revised goal of concluding the talks this year.

News  |  April 23, 2019

CPTPP Update: Trade deal now in force for seven signatories, more on the way

The CPTPP entered into force on December 30, 2018, when it took effect for Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore. Vietnam followed suit on January 14, 2019.

News  |  April 23, 2019

ASEAN member states to sign fourth protocol amending Comprehensive Investment Agreement

ASEAN economic ministers are due to meet in Thailand this month, where they will sign a new protocol that would revise their existing, ASEAN-wide investment agreement, as well as their new ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement (ATISA). Negotiations to update both agreements concluded in late 2018.

News  |  April 23, 2019

Australia and Indonesia sign economic partnership agreement, including ISDS mechanism

Australia and Indonesia have now signed their Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA), bringing to a close a negotiating process that began in November 2010. The two countries signed the agreement on March 4, 2019. The IA-CEPA also includes an investment chapter and four related annexes, which cover an arbitrators’ code of conduct; expropriation and compensation; foreign investment policy; and public debt.

News  |  April 23, 2019

UNCITRAL Working Group III holds New York session

Delegates had a new round of deliberations for multilateral reform of ISDS at UNCITRAL from April 1 to 5. The meeting of Working Group III, which is tasked with this process, was held in New York.

News  |  April 23, 2019

Investment facilitation discussions resume among WTO member group

“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.

News  |  December 21, 2018

European Union moves swiftly toward adopting regulation on screening foreign direct investment

On November 20, 2018, the European Parliament, Council and Commission reached political agreement on an EU framework for screening FDI, and on December 11, 2018, the International Trade Committee of the European Parliament endorsed the political agreement.