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Commentary to the Austrian Model Investment Treaty

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Commentary to the Austrian Model Investment Treaty

The commentary examines the Austrian Model Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) and compares recent developments in the use of BIT models in North America and Europe.

The paper focuses, among others, on the Austrian Model BIT's scope, definitions of "investment" and "investor," umbrella and dispute settlement clauses, host country obligations, most favoured nation (MFN) and national treatment and obligations. Further topics include market access, expropriation and fair and equitable treatment (FET) provisions. Specific attention is given to BIT provisions addressing the environment, labour and sustainable development, and to the issue of transparency in investor-State dispute settlement. The paper commends the efforts to modernize the Austrian approach to international investment treaty negotiations, but also points out some still-existing key areas of concern and recommends ways to address problems in the nearly 70 existing treaties already concluded by Austria.