News

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.

News  |  December 21, 2018

After sixth ratification, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to enter into force on December 30, 2018

On October 31, 2018, Australia became the sixth state to formally ratify the CPTPP, along with Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore.

News  |  December 21, 2018

European Union signs trade and investment agreements with Singapore; EU–Japan EPA to enter into force on February 2019

On October 19, 2018, Singapore and the European Union signed political and trade agreements as well as the EU–Singapore Investment Protection Agreement (IPA).

News  |  December 21, 2018

UNCITRAL Working Group III decides that multilateral reform of ISDS desirable; governments to submit proposals to develop work plan for reform

UNCITRAL Working Group III continued discussions on possible reform of investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS) at its 36th session, held October 28–November 2, 2018 in Vienna.

News  |  December 21, 2018

Judges of the International Court of Justice decide to no longer participate as arbitrators in ISDS cases

In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on October 25, 2018, Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf, President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), mentioned that the court has decided to restrict the practice of allowing members to serve in arbitral tribunals.

News  |  December 21, 2018

Negotiations of a legally binding instrument on business and human rights continue at the United Nations

During the week of October 15–19, 2018, the fourth session of the Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Respect to Human Rights took place in Geneva.

News  |  October 17, 2018

NAFTA 2.0 finalized, announced as USMCA: Mexico, United States agree to limit ISDS clause; Canada to pull out of ISDS after a three-year window

On September 30, 2018, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that the two countries had reached an agreement, alongside Mexico, on a modernized trade deal.

News  |  October 17, 2018

UNCITRAL Working Group III to continue debate on possible multilateral reform of ISDS

UNCITRAL Working Group III is scheduled to continue discussions on possible reform of ISDS at its 36th session, to be held October 29–November 2, 2018 in Vienna.

News  |  October 17, 2018

Canadian government launches consultation on Canada’s foreign investment promotion and protection agreements (FIPA), open until October 28, 2018

Canadian Minister of International Trade Diversification Jim Carr announced on August 14, 2018 the launch of a public consultation on Canada’s BITs, known as foreign investment promotion and protection agreements (FIPAs).

News  |  October 17, 2018

UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights hosts 4th session October 15-19, 2018

The fourth session of the Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Respect to Human Rights will take place October 15–19, 2018 in Room XX of the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

News  |  October 17, 2018

Over 300 U.S. state legislators strongly support USTR’s efforts to remove ISDS from NAFTA

In a September 12, 2018 letter, 312 legislators—including Democrats as well as Republicans—from all 50 U.S. states wrote that they “strongly support” U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer’s efforts to remove ISDS from NAFTA.

News  |  October 17, 2018

Published texts reveal minor edits to the ISDS clause in the United States–South Korea FTA

The United States and South Korea have renegotiated investment provisions in their FTA (KORUS FTA).

News  |  October 17, 2018

Reduced scope of application of ISDS in RCEP; negotiating partners still aim at end-2018

After an RCEP negotiation round held in Singapore in late August 2018, most negotiating partners are reported to have agreed to reduce the scope of application of the ISDS clause.

News  |  October 17, 2018

Australian Labor Party drops opposition to CPTPP, vows to remove ISDS bilaterally

On September 10, 2018, the Australian Labor Party (Labor) dropped its long-standing opposition to the 11-nation CPTPP, clearing the way for the agreement to pass the Senate.

News  |  July 30, 2018

European Commission communication on protection of intra-EU investment rejects ECT as a basis for intra-EU ISDS

On July 19, 2018, the European Commission (EC) published a communication to the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (EU) titled Protection of Intra-EU Investment.

News  |  July 30, 2018

Update on EU trade and investment negotiations: Japan, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico

On July 17, 2018, EC President Jean-Claude Juncker and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed the Japan–European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement (JEEPA).

News  |  July 30, 2018

United States Trade Representative outlines plan to negotiate model free trade agreement with sub-Saharan African country

The 17th African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum, hosted by the United States for sub-Saharan African countries, took place in Washington, D.C. from July 9 to 12, 2018.

News  |  July 30, 2018

UNCITRAL Working Group III continues debate on ISDS concerns and multilateral reform

Working Group III of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) continued discussions on possible reform of investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS) at its 35th session, held April 23–27, 2018 in New York.

News  |  April 24, 2018

UNCITRAL Working Group III meets in New York to continue ISDS reform discussions

The 35th session of Working Group III of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) takes place April 23–27, 2018

News  |  April 24, 2018

Agreement to create the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) signed in Rwanda

On March 21, 2018, 44 of the 55 African Union member states gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, signed the AfCFTA with a view to creating a single market in the continent.

News  |  April 24, 2018

Council of the European Union adopts negotiating directives: EU Commission to negotiate a convention establishing a multilateral investment court

On March 20, 2018, the Council of the European Union adopted negotiating directives authorizing the European Commission to negotiate a convention establishing a multilateral court for the settlement of investment disputes.

News  |  April 24, 2018

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) signed

On March 8, 2018, the CPTPP was signed in Santiago, Chile. The free trade agreement involves 11 countries in the Pacific region: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

News  |  April 24, 2018

RCEP to discuss investment in July; conclusion of agreement expected in 2018

On March 3, 2018, ministers from the 16 participating countries of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) attended the 4th RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting in Singapore.

News  |  April 24, 2018

Investment for sustainable development through public–private partnerships (PPPs): IISD and UNCTAD host joint workshops in Nairobi

On February 6, 2018, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) co-organized two half-day workshops on Harnessing Investment for Sustainable Development Through Public–Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Infrastructure and Public Services in Nairobi, Kenya.

News  |  December 21, 2017

EU–Japan EPA negotiations finalized without investment; EU–Mexico updated FTA nears completion

On December 8, 2017, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the finalization of the negotiations of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and Japan.