WTO

Investment Facilitation at the WTO: An attempt to bring a controversial issue into an organization in crisis

The structured discussions on investment facilitation (IF) among 70 WTO members are now 18 months old. Participants are wrapping up their latest phase of work: considering examples of different issues and elements that could form the basis of a multilateral IF framework. The authors examine the history of investment discussions at the WTO and review how international investment governance in other forums has evolved in recent years. They examine what challenges can emerge in crafting IF disciplines, especially if these are binding, and the importance of considering which forums are most appropriate for IF-related discussions.

News  |  April 23, 2019

Investment facilitation discussions resume among WTO member group

“Structured discussions” on a possible multilateral facilitation framework resumed in Geneva this past month. The meeting, held in early March, marked the first session of the new year, and begins a new phase in the structured discussions process. The WTO members involved previously met seven times during 2018, examining a series of overarching objectives that this framework could address.

The WTO and International Investment Law: Converging systems

International law has historically regulated foreign trade and foreign investment differently, leading to variances in treaty form, institutional culture and dispute settlement. However, economic, legal and sociological factors are now pushing the two systems together.

The Merits and Limitations of General Exception Clauses in Contemporary Investment Treaty Practice

The international investment agreement (IIA) regime is experiencing an unprecedented surge in public attention. Prime examples are the debates surrounding the conclusion of the Canada–European Union Comprehensive Trade and Investment Agreement (CETA) and the ongoing negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement between the United States and the European Union (TTIP). In Germany, […]

State Regulatory Autonomy and Tobacco Control in International Trade and Investment Law

Tobacco companies are frequently turning to international trade and investment agreements as a tool to challenge domestic tobacco control measures. Cases to date include: Indonesia’s successful challenge before the World Trade Organization (WTO) of the U.S. exemption of menthol from its ban on flavoured cigarettes;[1] the pending WTO claims by Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia […]

ITN  |  July 19, 2012

Trends in Investor Claims Over Feed-in Tariffs for Renewable Energy

As governments increasingly turn to renewable energy to mitigate climate change, domestic climate-related policies in the form of price support measures such as feed-in tariffs (FiTs) have played an important role in stimulating the much needed investment—public and private, domestic and foreign—in the sector. Feed-in tariffs are characterized by guaranteed electricity purchase prices (set higher […]

Investment Law and Public Services: Clashes of Interests or Peaceful Coexistence?

[T]he Tribunal must balance the legitimate and reasonable expectations of the Claimants with […] [the] right to regulate the provision of a vital public service.[1] This quote from an investment arbitration tribunal highlights the relationship between international investment law and the regulation of public services. This essay illustrates areas of contention between the requirements of […]

ITN  |  July 12, 2011

Federalism and international investment disputes

One of the more politically controversial aspects of international investment protection treaties is the liability of a State when political sub-divisions are found to have breached that State’s treaty obligations to foreign investors. This issue is particularly significant in federal States, such as Canada, the United States, Australia or Germany, among others, where sub-national governments […]