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With concern mounting in Europe and the U.S. that investor-state arbitration deals could ensnare their countries in expensive and risky disputes, a former lawyer with the World Bank’s arbitration court has warned that moves by advanced economies to quit the system could have a “chilling effect” on the investor-state dispute settlement process around the world.

Ucheora Onwuamaegbu, a consulting attorney and senior fellow at the Center for International Governance Innovation, a Canadian think tank, said in a paper published Monday that the willingness of developed countries like the U.S. and Canada to agree to face claims by foreign investors has...

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