NAFTA on the tightrope One of President Donald Trump’s most frequent campaign promises was to “eliminate” the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”), which he described as “the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in this country.” He then softened his tone and stated that he would renegotiate the treaty,…

In recent weeks, criticism of the TPP has been increasingly focused on the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism contained in its Chapter Nine. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren initiated the charge against the TPP’s ISDS mechanism, and her attacks were recently supported by more than two hundred economists and law professors, who addressed a letter to…

On June 6, 2016, the ICSID Secretary General registered a request for arbitration in Global Telecom Holding (GTH) v. Canada. Although the text of the arbitral claim is not yet public, it appears likely that the dispute relates to GTH’s involvement (or attempted involvement) in Canada’s wireless telecommunications sector. This claim may be historic for…

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”) is a state-of-the-art multi regional trade agreement that, once ratified, will transform the scenario of international trade and arbitration for the next century. The TPP will have an impact on the rules governing global investment, influencing future and current negotiations of Bilateral Investment Treaties (“BITs”) and Free Trade Agreements (“FTAs”). It…

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…

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…

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…

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 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…

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…

As described in Part 1 of this post, the mounting debate about investor-state dispute resolution (ISDR) has crescendoed in the current Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. There are at least two “schools” of concern with ISDR, both of them voiced inside and outside the TPP context. Threats to Public Interest Policy For a growing array of…

Transparency of investment treaty arbitration is back on the radar this week as delegations convene in Vienna for the latest meeting of the UNCITRAL Working Group II on Arbitration and Conciliation. While governments debate the scope and content of new transparency obligations, one issue that has received less attention is a sometimes-seen corollary of greater…

Monday’s New York conference on “Arbitration with States and State Entities under the ICC Rules” got me thinking about the possibility of amicus submissions in investment cases before the ICC or other institutions beyond ICSID. A few musings: Are amicus debates likely to arise in the ICC context? The answer is yes. Although most ICC…

Mandatory research and development investment requirements (hereinafter ‘R&D Requirements’) may be prohibited under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (‘NAFTA’). A decision in Mobil Investments Canada Inc. and Murphy Oil Corporation v. Government of Canada (‘Mobil v. Canada’) is highly anticipated after a U.S. website leaked the fact that Canada had lost…

The Obama Administration’s only current regional trade negotiations, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), continue slowly toward a possible conclusion in 2013, with 12 rounds of negotiations having been completed as of the end of May 2012. A major element of a re-energized American focus on political, security and economic considerations in Asia, the TPP if it…

On March 11, 2001, The New York Times published an article entitled “Nafta’s Powerful Little Secret; Obscure Tribunals Settle Disputes, but Go Too Far, Critics Say.” It began, ominously: “Their meetings are secret. Their members are generally unknown. The decisions they reach need not be fully disclosed.” Over the ensuing decade, while NAFTA Chapter Eleven…

Investment treaty provisions that allow joint decisions by States Parties to override or control arbitral tribunals’ interpretations of investment treaty standards scarcely appear in international investment agreements. The recently released 2012 United States Model BIT is a rare example. The 2012 version carried over Article 30(3) of the 2004 United States Model BIT, enabling States…

The Rules, Practice, and Jurisprudence of International Courts and Tribunals (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2012) has just shipped. I am the (proud) editor and a contributor of the book and am delighted to have the opportunity to bring it to the attention of this group. I think it will be of special interest to arbitration practitioners….

As we approach the first anniversary of the UK Supreme Court’s landmark decision in the case of Dallah Estate and Tourism Holding Company v The Ministry of Religious Affairs, Government of Pakistan, it is only fitting that we would encounter a case which would cause us to revisit the issue of the proper standard of…

This article provides a brief background on the provision allowing for non-disputing State Party participation under Chapter Ten of the Dominican Republic – Central America – United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), specifically Article 10.20.2, including the relationship between non-disputing State Party submissions and the transparency provisions of CAFTA-DR as well as the implementation of…

Last year, around this time, I offered a list of 10 investor-state arbitral awards I hoped to see in 2010. If time permits, I may do another list for 2011. But, first I thought I’d take a look back at last year’s list and offer a brief update on those cases. Rather, than do all…

Three different investors, with three different claims, in three different situations, have recently been in the news. All three disputes have a Canadian connection. Two involved claims by foreign investors against Canada, one that settled and one that Canada defeated. The third involves a claim by a Canadian investor against the Democratic Republic of Congo….