On 31 January 2014, an arbitral tribunal consisting of arbitrators José-Miguel Júdice, President, Manuel Conthe and Raúl Vinuesa, found Bolivia liable under the UK-Bolivia bilateral investment treaty for the unlawful expropriation of the 50 per cent stake owned by Rurelec, a UK power investor, in the Bolivian electricity generation company Empresa Eléctrica Guaracachi SA (“EGSA”). According to Rurelec, it is the first known investment treaty case against the state to reach a final award. Continue reading »
On 31 December 2013, ICSID issued its updated caseload statistics on cases registered and administered by the Centre. As of 31 December 2013, ICSID had registered 459 cases under the 1965 ICSID Convention and the 1978 Additional Facility Rules (AFR). The total number of cases for 2013 has been 40: a 20% drop in the case load compared to 2012. Continue reading »
This Article was first published in the Michigan Journal of International Law, Vol. 35(1), 2013. If you wish to make references to the article please follow the pagination in the Michigan Journal of International Law.
The purpose of this Article is to draw attention to, raise questions about, and generate discussions regarding the emerging norms, legal context, and long-term development-implications of South-South foreign direct investment (“FDI”) and South-South bilateral investment treaties (“BIT”). This Article seeks to refocus the discourse about FDI and BITs on developing countries in their role as exporters of capital and in the context of the much-touted new geography of investment. Can South-South BITs play a positive role in promoting development in sub-Saharan Africa any more than the Africa-North BITs? Is China concluding development-focused BITs with countries in Africa? The Article identifies the BITs between China and countries in Africa, analyzes the main provisions and the development-dimension of these BITs, and examines the extent to which they differ from model BITs used by Western countries. Continue reading »
Myanmar is in the throes of substantial political and economic reform. Investors are eager to engage in the economic opportunity Myanmar has on offer, but are understandably concerned about the lack of certainty in the legal process and particularly when it comes to the resolution of commercial disputes. Continue reading »
The Mexican Senate has passed a “Bill” approving amendments to Articles 25, 27 and 28 of the Constitution of the United Mexican States, and as a result creates new regulation on energy (oil, gas and electricity). Continue reading »
Mongolia has recently passed a Law on Investment strengthening the rights of investors and increasing the certainty and predictability of its tax regulations. In addition, the Law creates a State Administrative Body in Charge of Investment Affairs (the “agency”) to promote investments and provide services to investors. The Law, which took effect on 1 November 2013 pursuant to its Article 24, is expected to increase foreign investment flows. Economic growth in Mongolia, which has a population of less than 3 million people, is mainly driven by its copper and coal resources, making investment a top priority for its government. Continue reading »
In July 2010, the South African Cabinet adopted a new investment policy framework which was aimed at modernising and strengthening the country’s investment regime. Five core measures were mandated by Cabinet for the implementation of the new policy framework: (i) development of foreign investment legislation; (ii) review and termination of existing old generation BITs; (iii) development of a new model BIT; (iv) BITs will only be entered into on the basis of compelling economic and political reasons; and (v) the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to oversee the implementation of these measures. Continue reading »
History of South Africa’s BIT regime
South Africa emerged from international isolation in 1994 after ushering in a majority governance system. It was the last country in the African continent to gain freedom. Most countries which had gained independence during the decolonisation period had engaged in economic nationalism. In Southern Africa, Zambia was one of them. South Africa as the last African country to attain political freedom had to signal to the world and foreign investors in particular that it was a safe investment destination. Continue reading »
On 4 October 2013, ICSID dispatched the arbitral tribunal’s award in Metal-Tech Ltd v the Republic of Uzbekistan. The tribunal declined jurisdiction after finding that corruption had been established “to an extent sufficient to violate Uzbekistan law in connection with the establishment of the Claimant’s investment in Uzbekistan.” Continue reading »
On 17 October 2013, the Organisation pour l’Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires (Organisation for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa) or OHADA celebrated its 20th anniversary under the presidency of Burkina Faso. A series of events have been organised to commemorate the event, including a meeting of business law experts in Ouagadougou to discuss the achievements and the future prospects of the organisation. Continue reading »
Last month, the leaders of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam announced that the negotiations for completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”) were on track. Progress was made on the legal texts and annexes that will regulate a diverse range of sectors that include goods and services, investment, financial services, government procurement, and temporary entry markets. The focus of the TPP is now aimed at resolving the outstanding issues and achieving a final agreement by the end of this year. Continue reading »
On 3 October 2013 the Gambia notified the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations of its withdrawal from the organisation to which it belonged since its independence from Britain in 1965. Continue reading »
On 31 July 2013 ICSID issued its updated caseload statistics on cases registered and administered by the Centre. As of 30 June 2013 ICSID had registered 433 cases under the 1965 ICSID Convention and the 1978 Additional Facility Rules (AFR). It had registered 14 cases in 2013 until the closure of that document. Continue reading »
Pakistan is on its way to develop its own ‘Model’ Bilateral Investment Treaty (BITs) as the standard international investment treaty to seek and attract more foreign investment. Such ‘Model’ investment treaties usually contain blanket and comprehensive provisions to cater to the diverse relationships that a State may have with other potential capital exporting States and in this way, a standard-form contract-like treaty is perpetuated to achieve a harmony in terms of obligations that a State is prepared to undertake as regards investments to and from its territory. Continue reading »
On 23 June 2013 South Africa sent a notification to Spain in order to denounce their BIT.
The BIT was signed ad referendum in Pretoria on 30 September 1998 and entered into force on 23 December 1999. According to Article XII(1) the BIT was in force for an initial period of 10 years (until 23 December 2009) and from then onwards it was in force for consecutive 2-year periods (the first one, from 24 December 2009 until 23 December 2011; the second one, from 24 December 2011 until 23 December 2013; and so on).
Article XII(2) allows any State party to denounce the BIT by a notification in writing six months before the date of expiry of the BIT. As the second 2-year period referred to above lasts until 23 December 2013, South Africa had until 23 June 2013 to send its notification. It did so on time.
In any event, as usual in BIT practice, Article XII(3) contains a survival clause whereby the BIT will be in force for an additional 10-year period from 23 December 2013 for all investments made or acquired before that date.
 See BOE (Spanish official gazette) no. 26, 31 January 2000.
 See “Bilateral Investment Treaty Policy Framework Review”, Executive Summary of Government Position Paper, Pretoria, June 2009, Government Gazette, 7 July 2009.
 See a previous post by Azwimphelele Langalanga, “South African Courts and the Expropriation Conundrum: Caveat Foreign Investor”, 31 May 2013, at http://blogaila.com/2013/05/31/south-african-courts-and-the-expropriation-conundrum-caveat-foreign-investor-by-azwimphelele-langalanga/
On 28 May 2013 EU’s Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht and Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni issued a joint statement regarding the deadly collapse of a garment factory in Savar, near Dhaka, on 24 April 2013 where 1,129 people were killed and some 2,500 were injured. The message is crystal clear for both exporters and importers of garment products manufactured in Bangladesh in particular and in developing countries in general:
A milestone decision was passed down by South Africa’s premier court seated in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. This was in the case of Agri South Africa v. Minister for Minerals and Energy. It is a case testing the legality of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) 28 of 2002 (as amended), particularly its black empowerment provisions. Simply put this piece of legislation had the effect of vesting all mineral ownership to the state. Before it came into being, mineral resources underground were owned by the land owners who in most instances happened to be farmers. These farmers had inter alia the right to exploit the minerals and to lease such mining rights to anyone on their terms. The claimants challenged it on the basis that it expropriated their property. The court ruled that there is a difference between expropriation and deprivation. And basically provided that the concept of indirect expropriation did not apply in South African law.