In the United States, approval prospects may appear bleak for the Trans-Pacific Partnership  Agreement (“TPP”) – at least at present. The current political climate appears generally negative on trade, and even Vice President Joe Biden stated recently that he saw “less than an even chance” that TPP would be approved before the new U.S. president…

Just like a century ago – and throughout their entire history – the Balkans remain a zone of structural instability. In this respect, the ‘end of history’ has not come around to the fringes of Europe, as Francis Fukuyama once optimistically expected. Therefore, although the Balkan area is an essentially coherent cultural sub-space, while still…

Given the existence of thousands of international investment agreements, the international investment law regime has been described as “complex and confusing,” “highly fragmented,” and “characterised by overlaps and incoherence”. Two key developments, however, are contributing to the harmonization of that regime. First, a set of major agreements is being negotiated by many of the world’s…

Simon Lester has a thoughtful response to my earlier post about using trade remedies to enforce arbitration awards. He questions whether conditioning GSP benefits on compliance with arbitration awards is consistent with WTO obligations. My answer is essentially yes. Because there are so many issues at play, I thought it best to respond in a…

As I discuss in a recent article published in the Santa Clara Journal of International Law, one of the most significant developments signaling the convergence of trade and arbitration is the use of trade remedies to enforce arbitration awards. This is done primarily when a developed country threatens to remove preferential trade benefits to a…

“America’s important security alliances across the Pacific need an economic underpinning.”  Ambassador Robert Zoellick, May 1, 2013 To use one of the Obama Administration’s favorite terms, the entry of Japan in April 2013 into the three-year-old Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations later this year is a “game-changer.”  Prior to Japan’s commitment as the 12th TPP partner,…

So we all know that investment arbitration tribunals have relied on WTO precedent for persuasive authority as to the meaning of various terms in bilateral investment treaties. (Think the emergency exception in the Argentina arbitrations and references to WTO Article XXI). But does the reverse also happen? Do WTO panels or the WTO Appellate Body…

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…

The seventh round of TPP negotiations will take place in Vietnam the week of June 20 but caution on the part of U.S. negotiators makes it highly unlikely that after fifteen months of ongoing negotiations any of the major issues will be resolved or even fully opened to discussion. In particular, the United States Trade…