Zhan: International Investment Rule-making – Trends, Challenges and Way Forward,

From the chapter:

In the absence of a multilateral investment system, the current international investment regime is multi-layered and multi-faceted, consisting of close to 3,270 investment treaties at the bilateral, regional and plurilateral level (by the end of 2014). The overwhelming majority of countries are party to at least one international investment agreement (IIA). Some have even signed more than 100 such agreements.

On the one hand, we see an up-scaling of treaty making in two respects: First, in terms of participation, up-scaling means that more and more countries are actively engaged in negotiating IIAs. For example, 44 IIAs were concluded in 2013; and 88 countries are currently involved in negotiating seven mega-regional agreements with investment chapters. The EU alone is engaged in negotiating more than 20 agreements that are expected to include investment-related provisions (which may vary in their scope and depth).

Second, up-scaling occurs with regard to the substance of agreements. They become broader in the coverage of issues (i.e. they expand existing treaty elements and include new ones) and they introduce more sophisticated treaty standards.

On the other hand, some countries are disengaging from the IIA regime. Over the past two years, some countries have unilaterally terminated existing treaties (e.g. Ecuador, South Africa and Indonesia), and some also denounced multilateral investment arbitration conventions (e.g. Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela).

In addition, there is a continued trend of re-adjusting treaty negotiating positions. At least 40 countries and four regional integration organisations have been recently reviewing and revising their model investment agreements and negotiation strategies, partially through a multi-stakeholder approach.


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