India-Africa trade and investment has seen tremendous growth in the last decade. The deepening relationship between old partners and allies prompted the launch, in 2008, of the India-Africa Forum Summit. Cooperation is deepening on a number of fronts. Economic cooperation, political cooperation, cooperation in social development and capacity building, cooperation in health, culture and sports, as well as cooperation in tourism, infrastructure, energy and environment are all mentioned as viable areas for cooperation in key documents of the India-Africa Forum Summit. Both sides envision a partnership that goes beyond bilateral linkages. Continue reading
Since President Mbeki’s administration gave way to that of President Jacob Zuma, South Africa has taken a back seat on international issues.
This does not bode well for a country like South Africa with so much political capital accrued over the past two and half decades. Continue reading
This paper examines the position of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) regarding proposals to reform the investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) system. Despite their silence on ongoing discussions about the future of the ISDS system and possible pathways for reform, SSA countries are making their position on the issue known. The paper argues that the position of SSA countries can be gleaned from instruments that these countries have pushed for at the sub-regional level. In particular, in the Investment Agreement for the COMESA Common Investment Area (CCIA), in the SADC Bilateral Investment Treaty Template (SADC Model BIT), and even in the SADC Protocol on Investment, countries in SSA appear to express a desire for a radically transformed ISDS system. However, closer inspection suggests that SSA countries are inconsistent in their actions when it comes to reforming the ISDS mechanism. Although these countries espouse a vision of an ISDS mechanism that is different from the existing mechanism, their actions tell a different story. For example, the CCIA is not operational, the SADC Model BIT is not binding and very few countries, if any, have taken steps to model their bilateral investment treaties (BITs) after it. And in their BITs and related treaties, SSA countries still cling to the traditional approach to ISDS and BITs more generally. Furthermore, while SSA countries would prefer to limit investor access to ISDS, the demise of the SADC Tribunal in the wake of Mike Campbell (Pvt) Ltd and Others v. Republic of Zimbabweundermines efforts to project domestic and regional institutions in Africa as credible alternatives to international arbitration. The paper suggests that the inconsistent position of SSA countries on the ISDS question deserves closer study. Also deserving closer study is an assessment of the experience of SSA countries with the ISDS system since the system emerged some forty years ago. Finally, attention must be paid to the myriad of factors that presently limit the capacity of countries in Africa to negotiate tailored and development-oriented international investment agreements (IIAs) as well as factors that undermine their effective participation in the international investment law regime more generally. 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
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
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 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 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:
On 23 May 2013 the European Commission decided to ask EU Member States for their agreement on a mandate to open negotiations on an investment agreement with China. As the Commission has underlined, “this is the first ever proposal for a stand-alone investment agreement since foreign direct investment became the exclusive competence of the EU under the Lisbon Treaty” on 1 December 2009.
On 30 April 2013 Saudi Arabia and Japan signed an Agreement for the Promotion and Protection of Investment (BIT) within the framework of the official visit paid by Mr. Shinzo Abe, Japanese Prime Minister, to Saudi Arabia.
On 29th July 1993, BHP Minerals International Exploration Inc. (BHP) and the Balochistan Development Authority (BDA), a statutory corporation of the Province of Balochistan in Pakistan, entered into a Chagai Hills Exploration Joint Venture Agreement (CHEJVA) for exploration of deposits of gold, copper, and other minerals in the Chagai district of Balochistan. However, pursuant to two subsequent contracts, (i) an option Agreement and (ii) an Alliance Agreement with BHP, the Claimant, Tethyan Copper Company Pty Limited, a company constituted and registered under the laws of Australia and owned in equal shares by Antofagasta Plc, a company incorporated in the United Kingdom with its headquarters in Chile, and Barrick Gold Corporation, a company incorporated in Canada, took over from BHP the exploration activities in the Chagai Hills exploration area. Continue reading
March 2013 will be remembered as a month in which relevant FTA negotiations were launched or reinforced by accessions of powerful States. One of the most prominent actors in this period has no doubt been Japan as in just a couple of weeks it decided to join existing FTA talks for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and launch FTA negotiations with the European Union (EU). Continue reading
The EU has been very active in the promotion of free trade and investment during the last two weeks. Morocco, Peru, Ukraine or the United States of America have become or will become EU partners in those fields in the near future.
Now we would like to complete the scenario by pointing out the latest developments of EU initiatives with a further two developing countries: Myanmar and Vietnam. Continue reading
The EU seems to be definitely committed to promoting worldwide free trade (and foreign direct investment) as a means to overcome the current economic crisis. Continue reading
Official statements and news reports published during the last five days indicate that Germany reaffirms that the so-called Fraport case is not an obstacle for the deepening of trade and investment relations with the Philippines.
Such conclusion is the outcome of the official visit that German Foreign Minister Dr. Guido Westerwelle paid to the Philippines on 7-8 February 2013 where he met President Benigno Aquino and Foreign Secretary Alberto del Rosario.
The aim of this paper is to review all the protective provisions found mostly in all BITs, whether coming from customary international law or enunciated through the BIT itself in order to illustrate the implications of those provisions so that a proper understanding of the obligations imposed therein on the host States can be illustrated.
ICSID has published a new set of statistics about its caseload during 2012 and the aggregate since it was created by the Washington Convention in 1965.
Following our post on the upcoming entry into force of EU Regulation 1219/2012 we hereby offer a short summary regarding its impact on the BITs signed by Spain with third countries (i.e., excluding those BITs signed with current or upcoming EU Member States).