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U.S. Free Trade Agreements and Bilateral Investment Treaties: How Does Ratification Differ?

A lot has been written recently about the importance of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) in the context of the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. TPA is the authority Congress grants to the President to enter into certain reciprocal trade agreements that Congress can approve or disapprove but cannot amend or filibuster (i.e., passing an agreement would require solely an “up or down” vote by Congress). Many observers believe that TPA is a necessary piece to the successful conclusion of either agreement—it will be difficult for negotiating parties to put their best offers forward without some assurance that Congr [...]

Apotex III’s Application of Res Judicata Ensures Finality, Legal Security and Judicial Economy

The recently published Award in Apotex Holdings Inc. and Apotex Inc. v. United States of America (Apotex III Award) is the first NAFTA award to apply the doctrine of res judicata. The Apotex III Tribunal confirmed that the operative part, together with the underlying reasoning, of an earlier award determined that Apotex’s abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs) did not qualify as “investments” under the NAFTA. As such, the Tribunal, by a majority,* held that Apotex was barred from relitigating the issue despite Apotex’s argument that the earlier award concerned different kinds of ANDAs (those that were tentatively approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as opposed to th [...]

Who Are the Protagonists in Investment Treaty Arbitration?

Procedural orders rarely become the subject of blog posts, much less the impetus for concerted action among states anxious to control the strategic space on which investment treaty arbitrations unfold. However, a series of orders in Detroit International Bridge Company v. Canada generated controversy when the tribunal steadfastly excluded representatives of the United States from attending hearings on jurisdiction. Viewed from one perspective, the incident reflects an element of farce. But it also provides a trenchant and timely reminder of continuing differences regarding the structure of investment treaty arbitration, and the roles assigned to disputing parties, tribunals, and non-disp [...]

The Futility Exception to The Exhaustion Requirement: Apotex v. United States

In its Award on Jurisdiction and Admissibility, a unanimous tribunal in Apotex, Inc. v. United States dismissed a Canadian manufacturer’s claims that the United States judiciary had violated NAFTA by mis-applying a regulatory time period.

Most of the reaction to Apotex has focused on the tribunal’s decision that the claimant’s activities in the United States—and in particular its submissions for regulatory approval—did not constitute an “investment” under NAFTA Article 1139. While the tribunal struggled with claimant’s assertion that the regulatory filings were actually treated as “property” as a technical matter, the Award essentially concluded that Apotex simply had no [...]

Book Review: Commentaries on Selected Model Investment Treaties (Chester Brown, editor, Oxford University Press, 2013)

In recent years, Oxford University Press has devoted considerable effort to enhancing its transnational law list. In doing so, it has added several titles addressing international arbitration and investor-State topics. Among its more recent offerings is Commentaries on Selected Model Investment Treaties (hereinafter “Commentaries”) edited by Dr. Chester Brown.

Commentaries is substantial. It comprises 895 pages and 18 detailed chapters; each chapter is separately authored and the authors follow a common format to provide their observations and analysis. The authors are well-credentialed persons from government, academia, and private practice. With the exception of the chapter on NAFTA, e [...]

The Emergence of a Consistent Case Law: How NAFTA Tribunals have Interpreted the Fair and Equitable Treatment Standard

Last week the hearing on jurisdiction and liability in an arbitration between Bilcon of Delaware et al. and the Government of Canada was streamed live on the website of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (‘PCA’). One of the most disputed issues between the parties in this case is the meaning and the scope of the obligation for NAFTA Parties to provide foreign investors with a fair and equitable (‘FET’) treatment. This post summarizes the most fundamental findings of NAFTA tribunals regarding Article 1105 in the last 20 years (see, Patrick Dumberry, The Fair and Equitable Treatment Standard: A Guide to NAFTA Case Law on Article 1105, Wolters Kluwer 2013).

At the outset, it should be h [...]

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