Upcoming accession by the D. R. of Congo to the New York Convention, by José Ángel Rueda

During the last two weeks it has been widely reported[1] that the Democratic Republic of the Congo has promulgated domestic legislation for its accession to the 1958 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention”).  Continue reading »

Pakistan’s BIT Dilemma: Understanding Why a ‘Model’ BIT may not be the Best Approach, by Nida Mahmood

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.[1] 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 »

South Africa denounces BIT with Spain, by José Ángel Rueda

On 23 June 2013 South Africa sent a notification to Spain in order to denounce their BIT.[1]

The BIT was signed ad referendum in Pretoria on 30 September 1998 and entered into force on 23 December 1999.[2] 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.

We understand this move by South Africa is related to a hot debate about BITs within that country.[3] We will be happy to receive comments from South Africa on this topic.[4]


[1] See http://www.comercio.es/acuerdos, footnote 7 (in Spanish).

[2] See BOE (Spanish official gazette) no. 26, 31 January 2000.

[3] See “Bilateral Investment Treaty Policy Framework Review”, Executive Summary of Government Position Paper, Pretoria, June 2009, Government Gazette, 7 July 2009.

[4] 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/

Joint statement between the EU and Bangladesh after the deadly Savar factory collapse, by José Ángel Rueda

On 28 May 2013 EU’s Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht and Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni issued a joint statement[1] 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.[2] The message is crystal clear for both exporters and importers of garment products manufactured in Bangladesh in particular and in developing countries in general:

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South African Courts and the Expropriation Conundrum: Caveat Foreign Investor, by Azwimphelele Langalanga

Summary

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.

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Sâo Tomé and Principe ratifies the ICSID Convention, by José Ángel Rueda

On 20 May 2013 the Democratic Republic of Sâo Tomé and Principe deposited with the World Bank its instrument of ratification of the ICSID Convention.[1] The Convention shall enter into force for that State on 19 June 2013.

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EU Commission proposes to open negotiations for a BIT with China, by José Ángel Rueda

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.[1] 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.

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List of pre-2009 extra-EU BITs published by the European Commission, by José Ángel Rueda

On 8 May 2013 the Official Journal of the European Union has published the List of the bilateral investment agreements referred to in Article 4(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1219/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing transitional arrangements for bilateral investment agreements between Member States and third countries.[1]

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Signature of Canada-Nigeria FIPA, by José Ángel Rueda

Here in Europe we are longing for the publication by the European Union of the list of pre-2009 BITs that its 27 Member States want to maintain in force or permit to enter into force with third States pursuant to Articles 2 and 4(2) of Regulation 1219/2012.[1] This list will clarify the status of some 1,200 BITs entered into by EU Member States between 1959 and 2009 – undoubtedly a major event for international investment law.[2]  Continue reading »

Consent award in St. Marys VCNA, LLC v. Canada – should Brazil enter into BITs?, by José Ángel Rueda

On 12 April 2013 the arbitral tribunal[1] in St. Marys VCNA, LLC v. Canada notified the parties of the Consent Award that put an end to the dispute between them.[2]

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UNCTAD publishes new statistics on investment treaty arbitration, by José Ángel Rueda

UNCTAD has published a new edition of its statistics on investment treaty arbitration. Despite its title, “Recent Developments in Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)”,[1] it just refers to investment treaty arbitration, as stated above, because an inquiry on investment disputes arising out solely of a contract between a foreign investor and a State entity is almost impossible to achieve (arbitration courts apply strict confidentiality on these matters).   Continue reading »

ICSID Case Commentary: Tethyan Copper Company Pty. Limited v. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan (ICSID Case No ARB/12/1), Decision on Claimant’s Request for Provisional Measures, 13 December 2012, by Nida Mahmood

Facts

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 »

Japan’s favourable stance towards FTAs and treaty succession, by José Ángel Rueda

March 2013 will be remembered as a month in which relevant FTA negotiations were launched or reinforced by accessions of powerful States.[1] 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[2] existing FTA talks for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)[3] and launch FTA negotiations with the European Union (EU).[4]  Continue reading »

Bolivian President defends recent nationalizations, by José Ángel Rueda

Today we would just like to share with our readers some news coming from the current European tour of President Evo Morales of Bolivia. In this regard it is reported that, both in Vienna, Austria on 11 March 2013[1] and in Paris, France on 12 March 2013,[2] Mr. Morales has defended the string of nationalizations decreed by the Bolivian Government in recent months.  Continue reading »