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International Investment Agreements Navigator

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terminology

About

The database of international investment agreements (IIAs) is maintained by UNCTAD’s IIA Section. You can browse through IIAs concluded by a particular country or country grouping, view recently concluded IIAs, or use an Advanced Treaty Search for sophisticated searches tailored to your needs.


Disclaimer:

1) The IIA database is continuously adjusted as a result of verification with, and comments from, UN Member States. It is primarily built on information provided by governments on a voluntary basis. A treaty is included in a country's IIA count once it is formally concluded; treaties whose negotiations have been concluded, but which have not been signed, are not counted. A treaty is excluded from the IIA count once its termination becomes effective, regardless of whether it continues to have legal effect for certain investments during its “survival” (“sunset”) period. In cases of treaty replacements, only one of the treaties between the same parties is counted. Depending on the situation, the counted treaty can be the “old” one, if this one remains in force pending the ratification of the newly concluded IIA.

While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of its content, UNCTAD assumes no responsibility for eventual errors or omissions in these data. In the event of doubt regarding the content of the Database, it is suggested that you contact the relevant government department of the State(s) concerned. Users are kindly asked to report agreements, errors or omissions by using the online contact form.

2) The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.

Terminology

International investment agreements (IIAs) are divided into two types: (1) bilateral investment treaties and (2) Other IIAs. A bilateral investment treaty (BIT) is an agreement between two countries regarding promotion and protection of investments made by investors from respective countries in each other’s territory. The great majority of IIAs are BITs. The category of Other IIAs brings together various types of investment treaties that are not BITs. Three main types of Other IIAs can be distinguished:

  1. broad economic treaties that include obligations commonly found in BITs (e.g. a free trade agreement with an investment chapter);
  2. treaties with limited investment-related provisions (e.g. only those concerning establishment of investments or free transfer of investment-related funds); and
  3. treaties that only contain “framework” clauses such as the ones on cooperation in the area of investment and/or for a mandate for future negotiations on investment issues.

In addition to IIAs, there also exists an open-ended category of investment-related instruments (IRIs). It encompasses various binding and not-binding instruments and includes, for example, model agreements and draft instruments, multilateral conventions on dispute settlement and arbitration rules, documents adopted by international organisations, and others.


Search tips

  • Global search. To do a global search, leave both boxes empty, or drag "World" in Party Input box 1.
  • “Details” boxes. The “Details” boxes list countries constituting the selected grouping, category or region. Unwanted countries can be removed from the list.
  • Country groupings – two options. By default, a Country grouping (e.g. ASEAN or the EU) is viewed as a single entity, and the system will search for treaties concluded by the relevant grouping or all of its members. Secondly, a Country grouping can also be viewed as a list of individual countries that are members of this grouping, and the system will search for agreements concluded by these individual countries. To switch between these two options, click on the icon to the left of the grouping’s name.
  • “Intra” and “Extra”. If you place a certain Country category, Region or Country grouping (as a list of individual countries) in Party Input box 1 (without placing anything in Party Input box 2), you can check "Intra" to search for treaties within the group (by members of the group between each other), or "Extra" to search for treaties by group members with non-members (if you don't select "Intra" or "Extra", the system will search for both).
Number of IIAs per economy
1 199

Bilateral Investment Treaties

Total: 2922

Total in force: 2279

Other International Investment Agreements

Total: 358

Total in force: 280

International Investment Agreements

International investment rulemaking is taking place at the bilateral, regional, interregional and multilateral levels. It requires policymakers, negotiators, civil society and other stakeholders to be well informed about foreign direct investment, international investment agreements (IIAs) and their impact on sustainable development.

UNCTAD's Work Programme on IIAs actively promotes international investment rules that effectively foster sustainable development and inclusive growth.

The main aspects of this work are:

  • to monitor trends, identify key emerging issues and provide cutting-edge knowledge on IIAs from a sustainable development perspective;
  • to deliver trainings, seminars and workshops and offer ad-hoc advice to strengthen the capacity of beneficiaries in handling the complexities of the IIA regime; and
  • to facilitate the sharing of best practices and experiences with the view to fostering global investment governance.

Key Issues

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Modernising key provisions in IIAs

The increasing number of investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) cases has not only heightened the profile of IIAs but also brought to light their unanticipated – and partially undesired – side effects. The arbitral interpretation process has created a new learning environment for countries. Issues of predictability, policy space ...   Read more ...

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Reform of the IIA regime

Today the great majority of countries are parties to one or more International Investment Agreements (IIAs). At the same time, many governments are not fully satisfied with the existing IIA regime. Concerns relate mostly to the development dimension of IIAs, the balance between the rights and obligations of investors and States, ...   Read more ...

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Expert Meeting on Transformation of the International Investment Agreement Regime

UNCTAD convened an Intergovernmental Expert Meeting on "The Transformation of the International Investment Agreement Regime" from 25-27 February 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland. Experts, including a wide range of stakeholders from the investment and development community, discussed today's pressing reform issues and identified concrete ...   Read more ...

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Latest Publications

Publication article
Jun 30, 2015

Treaty-based ISDS Cases Brought Under Dutch IIAs: an Overview

This study, undertaken at the request of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, gives an overview of investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) cases initiated by Dutch claimants under international investment agreements (IIAs) to which the Netherlands is a party (“Dutch cases”).

Read more...
Publication article
Jun 25, 2015

Policy Options for IIA Reform: Treaty Examples and Data

The IIA regime is going through a period of reflection, review and revision. A heated public debate is taking place in many countries, and a shared view is emerging on the need for reform of the IIA regime to ensure that it works for all stakeholders.

Read more...