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Canada, China, and the Anti-BIT

If the Canada-China BIT is any guide, then the US-China BIT may prove to be profoundly state-friendly. Unlike Canada’s 2004 model investment agreement and the investment chapter of the 2014 Canada-European Union Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement (CETA), the Canada-China BIT offers only negligible establishment-phase protections and lacks disciplines on state-owned enterprises. With such provisions, the Canada-China BIT (and perhaps the US-China BIT) may prove to be an anti-BIT which, rather than promoting new investment, simply asserts states’ ability to regulate existing investments.

Three provisions contribute to the Canada-China BIT’s weak establishment-phase protections: ( [...]

Evolving Meaning: The Interpretation of Investment Treaties and Temporal Variations

International investment law is shaped by key terms such as “investment”, “indirect expropriation”, “national treatment”, “most favored nation”, “fair and equitable treatment”, among others, which are at the heart of most investment treaties. But after 1959, when West Germany and Pakistan signed what is known as the first ever bilateral investment treaty, and, since then, the conclusion of more than three thousand investment treaties, the meaning of these key terms has been exposed to potential temporal variations. This raises the question as to whether the interpreter should look for the meaning of the term at the time of the conclusion of the investment treaty or for th [...]

Indian Courts’ First Brush with Investment Treaty Arbitration: Taking Some Lessons from the Calcutta High Court

On 29 September 2014, the Calcutta High Court in Board of Trustees of the Port of Kolkata v. Louis Dreyfus Armaturs SAS & Ors delivered the first decision by an Indian Court on a case directly arising from an investment treaty arbitration. The case concerns an anti-arbitration injunction sought against Louis Dreyfus Armateurs SAS (“LDA”), prohibiting it from proceeding with an investment treaty claim under the 1997 India-France BIT. The Court allowed the application and ordered that LDA restrain from continuing proceedings against Kolkata Port Trust, which was wrongly identified as a Party to the investment arbitration.

This decision is significant for two main reasons. First, it gives v [...]

A Question of Democracy: The German Debate on International Investment Law.

Germany’s position on international investment law and investor-State arbitration is attracting increasing attention since the signing of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in September 2014 has been deferred, inter alia, because of opposition from Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy. Is Germany, the country that not only has concluded the first bilateral investment treaty (BIT) in 1959 but also has the densest network of BITs worldwide, as some fear, joining the coalition of critics in fundamentally reversing its international investment policy?

Mounting Criticism of International Investment Law in Germany in Context

A [...]

Effects of Settlements in Investor-State arbitration

What are the effects of a settlement agreement between the locally incorporated company and the host state on the foreign shareholder’s pending BIT claim? Two views have emerged under investment treaty arbitration case law. The first view, adopted in Sempra v. Argentina (ICSID Case No. ARB/02/16) and Hochtief v. Argentina (ICSID Case No. ARB/07/31) decisions, holds that a settlement agreement does not prevent the shareholder from pursuing international proceedings against the State. The second view, sustained in SAUR v. Argentina (ICSID Case No. ARB/04/4), contends that the effects of a settlement agreement preclude the investor from proceeding with an international action against the Sta [...]

Domestic Public Law: a Useful Critique for Understanding and Developing Investment Treaty Arbitration?

A recent seminar delivered under the Chatham House Rule considered the usefulness of an analogy between Investment Treaty Arbitration (ITA) and domestic public law, with a view to critiquing perceived imbalances in the former. The content of the seminar was grounded in the speaker’s background in ITA and public law litigation including domestic judicial review (JR) and European human rights law.  This post summarises the speaker’s comments.

The speaker’s main comments may be summarised as follows: ITA, whilst not simply another species of public law, does, like domestic JR, allow individuals to directly challenge governments and receive a remedy. Although it is not directly comparable [...]

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