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.
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. The Convention shall enter into force for that State on 19 June 2013.
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 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.
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. 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. Continue reading
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.
UNCITRAL has announced that on 16 April 2013 Myanmar has deposited its instrument of accession to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention). Continue reading
On 12 April 2013 the arbitral tribunal in St. Marys VCNA, LLC v. Canada notified the parties of the Consent Award that put an end to the dispute between them.
This article attempts to highlight the costs associated with bringing a case for arbitration at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) that the Parties will incur. Continue reading
UNCTAD has published a new edition of its statistics on investment treaty arbitration. Despite its title, “Recent Developments in Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)”, 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
On 10 April 2013 Montenegro deposited with the World Bank an instrument of ratification of the ICSID Convention. In accordance with its Article 68(2), the ICSID Convention will enter into force for Montenegro on May 10, 2013. Continue reading
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
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 and in Paris, France on 12 March 2013, Mr. Morales has defended the string of nationalizations decreed by the Bolivian Government in recent months. 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
As already reported, on 18 February 2013 the Government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia agreed to expropriate and nationalize Servicios de Aeropuertos Bolivianos, S.A. (SABSA), a Bolivian company which was granted concessions to run airports in La Paz, Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Cochabamba. SABSA was ultimately controlled by Spanish companies Abertis and AENA from 2004 until the date of nationalization. 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
On 5 March 2013 Col. Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías (1954-2013), President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (1999-2013), passed away after a long battle with cancer. Continue reading
On 1 March 2013 José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, paid an official visit to Morocco. At the end of the round of meetings held with H.M. King Mohammed VI and Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane in Rabat, Mr. Barroso formally announced the launch of negotiations between the EU and Morocco for the conclusion of a so-called Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement or DCFTA (English for “Accord de Libre Échange Complet et Approfondi”).
On 28 February 2013 the European Commission announced the provisional application as of 1 March 2013 of the free trade agreement (the “FTA”) signed by the EU (and its 27 Member States) and Peru on 26 June 2012. Although the FTA was also signed by Colombia it will not be provisionally applicable with this country until Colombia ratifies it later this year. Continue reading