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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 31 May 2016, at 12:00 AM
Investment Facilitation: A Global Action Menu
James Zhan, Director of the Investment and Enterprise Division at UNCTAD

UNCTAD’s Global Action Menu for Investment Facilitation to be launched officially at the World Investment Forum, 17-22 July 2016, Nairobi, Kenya

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 10 March 2016, at 12:00 AM
How to make IIA reform work? A formidable challenge
Joerg Weber, Head of Investment Policies Branch, Investment and Enterprise Division at UNCTAD

The investment and development community faces complex questions concerning the future direction of the international investment agreement (IIA) regime. Indeed, the debate has moved on and it’s no longer a question whether or not to reform. The pressing need for systematic reform of the IIA regime is evident across different countries and various stakeholder groups. Today’s debate has to deliver answers on “what to reform, how and to what extent”.

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 26 January 2016, at 12:00 AM
Investment Facilitation: An Action Menu
Preliminary draft for peer review, based on UNCTAD's Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development

Mobilizing investment and maximizing its positive contribution to growth and sustainable development is a priority for most countries. Concerted efforts are required to boost cross-border investment, within the context of an overall policy framework aimed at maximizing the benefits of such investment for host countries and minimizing any negative side effects.

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 26 November 2015, at 12:00 AM
Reforming the IIA regime: are we getting there? Lessons from recent treaty practice
Elisabeth Tuerk, Chief of International Investment Agreements Section, Investment and Enterprise Division at UNCTAD

Comparing treaty practice over time suggests that first steps towards reforming the IIA regime are already happening. A draft UNCTAD working paper reviews data on the prevalence of key IIA reform options and their evolution over time.

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 15 October 2015, at 12:00 AM
International Tax and Investment Policy Coherence and the UN Tax Committee Meeting
Michael Lennard, Chief, International Tax Cooperation Section, FfD Office, UN DESA

In his recent contribution to this blog, Jeffrey Owens considered tax and investment as they relate to the ongoing OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project. I wanted to explore some complementarities between the work of the Tax Committee and UNCTAD's important consideration of the relationship between tax and investment.

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 06 October 2015, at 12:00 AM
Tax and Investment: UNCTAD's contribution to the ongoing BEPS debate
Jeffrey Owens, Director of the Global Tax Policy Center, Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law

In June 2015, UNCTAD released its annual World Investment Report on “Reforming International Investment Governance”. This brief note first looks at the broader environment within which tax and investment issues have to be examined, and then looks at...

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 23 July 2015, at 12:00 AM
Time for action: concrete steps for IIA reforms
James Zhan, Director of the Investment and Enterprise Division at UNCTAD

There is a pressing need for systematic reform of the International Investment Agreement (IIA) regime. As is evident from the heated public debate and parliamentary hearing processes in many countries and regions, a shared view is emerging on the need for reform of the IIA regime to ensure that it works for all stakeholders.

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 18 February 2015, at 12:00 AM
Getting up to speed: IIA and ISDS trends from 2014
Elisabeth Tuerk, Chief of International Investment Agreements Section, Investment and Enterprise Division at UNCTAD

The IIA universe is evolving with pre-establishment commitments and sustainable development-oriented provisions on the rise. The substantive evolution of the IIA regime is also illustrated by the increasing number of countries that are reviewing their model IIAs.

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 28 January 2015, at 12:00 AM
Transformation of the International Investment Agreement Regime
Joerg Weber, Head of Investment Policies Branch, Investment and Enterprise Division at UNCTAD

The regime of international investment agreements (IIAs) is at a critical juncture. Increasing public attention is given to IIAs that are being negotiated and concluded as well as to investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) cases that are being brought under IIAs.

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 10 September 2014, at 12:00 AM
The FDI impact of IIAs - Can econometric studies help understand the relationship?
James Zhan, Director of the Investment and Enterprise Division at UNCTAD

​Over the years, numerous empirical studies have assessed the impact of IIAs, including BITs, on FDI – with mixed results. A policy debate is now underway to reappraise previous findings and unsolved questions. An important consideration for the policy debate is the ultimate function of IIAs with respect to countries' overall development strategies. Attracting FDI is neither the prime - nor the only - role of IIAs.

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 25 August 2014, at 12:00 AM
Bolivia's new investment promotion law through the eyes of UNCTAD's IPFSD
Martin Dietrich Brauch, International Institute for Sustainable Development

Taking the Bolivian case as an example, how might the IPFSD be further improved to help policymakers reconcile the Framework's general principles, guidelines and policy options with the national and regional specificities that arise from country's specific development contexts?

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 24 June 2014, at 12:00 AM
How to boost private investment in Sustainable Development Goals: UNCTAD's proposal for an Action Plan
James Zhan, Director of the Investment and Enterprise Division at UNCTAD

This year’s World Investment Report (WIR) focuses on Investment in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are currently being formulated by the United Nations in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders.

The SDGs are intended to galvanize action worldwide through concrete targets for the 2015–2030 period for social and environmental objectives; however, the participation of the private sector in investment in SDG-related fields is still relatively low.

In this regard, UNCTAD proposes a set of principles to deal with the inevitable policy dilemmas that arise with increasing involvement of private investors in many sensitive sectors or of a public service nature.

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 26 March 2014, at 12:00 AM
Transparency in Investor-State Arbitration: the new UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency
Julia Salasky and Corinne Montineri, UNCITRAL

The merits of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in general have recently been in the public limelight in the context of the negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the EU-Canada Free Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Little of the debate in the press, however, has focused on the trend towards transparency in ISDS.

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 17 January 2014, at 12:00 AM
The Impact of Mutual Termination of Investment Treaties on Investor Rights
Tania Voon, Andrew Mitchell and James Munro, University of Melbourne (Australia)

In recent years, several States have terminated their international investment agreements (IIAs) — e.g., bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and preferential trade agreements incorporating investment provisions. Some have done so due to alarm at unexpected outcomes in investor-State cases, and others are simply updating their IIAs as they conclude wider economic partnership agreements. Indeed, UNCTAD has reported that, by the end of 2013, more than 1,300 BITs (over a third of the nearly 2,900 BITs in existence today) will be at the stage where they could be terminated or renegotiated at any time.

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 28 November 2013, at 12:00 AM
Prospective EU-China investment agreement and the new potential for multilateralism in international investment law
M. Bungenberg, University of Siegen and C. Titi, Université Panthéon-Assas Paris II

The discussion of the evolution of investment relations between the European Union (EU) and China hinges on a confluence of factors susceptible to affect and shape the relationship between two of the most important global...

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 13 November 2013, at 12:00 AM
The Politics of Investment Treaty Ratification
Yoram Z. Haftel, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Alexander Thompson, Ohio State University

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is governed by a vast tapestry of bilateral investment treaties (BITs), designed to ease barriers to foreign investment and guarantee legal rights for investing corporations. About 2,700 BITs have been signed since the late 1950s and today almost every country in the world is part of this treaty network. The importance of BITs is underscored by the tremendous growth of international investment flows over the same period: from less than $100 billion in 1980, global inflows of FDI now stand at $1.5 trillion.

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 09 October 2013, at 12:00 AM
Investment Agreements versus the Rule of Law?
Todd N. Tucker,  Gates Scholar at the University of Cambridge’s Centre of Development Studies

The field of development economics has taken a significant shift over the last several decades towards institutional explanations for economic growth, with scholars attributing a key explanatory role to independent judiciaries...

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 10 September 2013, at 12:00 AM
Mobil v. Canada – Ratcheting Down the Scope of Treaty Reservations
Lise Johnson, Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment (VCC)

As part of States’ efforts to strike a balance in their international investment agreements (IIAs) between the obligations they assume and the rights and policy space they wish to retain, some adjoin annexes to their treaties to protect their ability to take “Non-Conforming Measures” (NCMs). ...

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 05 July 2013, at 12:00 AM
Reform of Investor-State Dispute Settlement: In Search of a Roadmap
James Zhan, Director of UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise

UNCTAD published an Issues Note on “Reform of Investor-State Dispute Settlement: In Search of a Roadmap". The note addressed the increasing number of concerns that have emerged about the investor-State dispute settlement system and identified five paths for reform.  It was also distributed through UNCTAD’s World Investment Network (WIN), and reached the OGEMID Listserve, a community of professionals with interest and expertise in international investment law. Our Note generated considerable discussion on this forum, reflected in the featured discussion.

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 21 May 2013, at 12:00 AM
Large scale agricultural investments and international investment law
Prof. Dr. Anne van Aaken, University of St. Gallen (Switzerland)

Over the past years agribusiness, (sovereign) investment funds and government agencies have been acquiring long-term rights (either acquisitions or long-term leases, typically between 50-100 years) over large areas of land (typically above 1000 ha), mostly in developing countries. The development has been underpinned, on the one hand, by home state governmental concerns about food and energy security and, on the other hand, by private sector expectations of increased returns from agriculture due to rising agricultural commodity prices. ...

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 08 April 2013, at 12:00 AM
Third party funding in international investment arbitration
Ignacio Torterola, Of Counsel, Foley Hoag LLP (United States)

Concerns about Third Party Funding (TPF) have been the subject of much attention recently. Without subtracting from the merits of TPF, a frank consideration of the pitfalls and risks faced by users of TPF in investment-arbitration is long overdue. Until recently TPF was prohibited in the common law system and it is in fact still punishable in some jurisdictions. It indeed follows that more cases would make it to court with the aid of a third party funder, than if claimants themselves had to finance cases upfront. ...

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 11 March 2013, at 12:00 AM
Reassessing the utility of Investor-State arbitration: what lessons should be taken from the recent Australian policy shift?
Dr. Jürgen Kurtz, University of Melbourne Law School (Australia)

The zeitgeist of international investment law is one of deep and fluid change.  After decades of stability (if not rigidity), many states are now engaged in a remarkable process of transforming the investment treaty network.  Australia is the most recent entry to that group. In June 2011, the Australian Government publicly announced in a Trade Policy Statement that it would no longer include investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in future trade agreements. 

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 12 February 2013, at 12:00 AM
The challenges of denouncing BITs: why it is better to renegotiate
Federico M. Lavopa, FLACSO and University of San Andrés (Argentina), Lucas E. Barreiros and Victoria Bruno, University of Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Arbitral tribunals' expansive interpretation of key disciplines in international investment law in recent years has prompted a number of developing countries to implement strategies aimed at exiting the system. These range from denouncing the ICSID Convention and withdrawing consent to jurisdiction by other arbitral bodies, to denouncing the Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) to which they are parties. ...

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 08 January 2013, at 12:00 AM
The concept of ‘necessity’ and non-precluded measures in international investment law: three lessons from WTO tribunals
Andrew D. Mitchell, University of Melbourne (Australia) and Caroline Henckels, University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)

The concept of ‘necessity’ is used in many legal systems - including international investment law, international trade law and human rights law - to delimit permissible measures from prohibited measures. Analysing a measure’s necessity entails determining whether other measures are available that would achieve the objective in question, yet impact less on the protected right or interest. ...

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 23 October 2012, at 12:00 AM
Arab region: Are investors rediscovering regional investment agreements from the '80s?
Dr. Walid Ben Hamida, University of Evry Val d'Essonne & Sciences Po, France

So far investment protection and promotion agreements between Arab States have attracted little attention, but current developments in the region are about to change this. The two probably most important agreements, which both date back to the 1980s, have not been used very frequently in the past. The majority of investors from Islamic States and even the legal community in these countries and elsewhere were not aware of the existence of these treaties. ...

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 22 May 2012, at 12:00 AM
Corporate Social Responsibility can and should become an integral part of International Investment Agreements (IIAs)
UNCTAD

IIAs to date do not generally provide for obligations on investors. However, IIAs can play a role in promoting responsible investor behaviour by incorporating key elements of broadly accepted principles of corporate social responsibility.

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Investment Policy Blog article image Posted on 22 May 2012, at 12:00 AM
Investment promotion agencies (IPAs) have a role to play in identifying regulatory and administrative barriers to investment
UNCTAD

IPAs have a role to play not only in identifying regulatory and administrative barriers to investment and in helping investors overcome those barriers, but also in pushing or leading efforts to break down barriers (e.g. by simplifying rules and procedures).

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