Fragmentation of the international law of investment has been a constant source of concern. There are currently over 2,600 international investment agreements (IIAs) in force. There are also two WTO Agreements that regulate certain aspects of international investment, the Agreement on Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMS) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), and discussions are currently underway regarding a potential investment facilitation agreement within the WTO framework. Work on investment facilitation is also been conducted at the international level by UNCTAD and the OECD, within the G20 and certain countries, such as Brazil, are pursuing bilateral investment facilitation initiatives.
The great majority of IIAs provide for investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) and have given rise to more than 800 investor-State arbitrations. The European Union has agreed with Canada and Vietnam to the establishment of standing investment tribunals in lieu of arbitration in their respective economic cooperation and free trade agreements, and it is currently pursuing the establishment of a multilateral investment court.
What can be done to preserve coherence in international investment rules? Is there a role for WTO, or do current efforts in the WTO only contribute to complexity and fragmentation? Are there alternatives
Hugo Perezcano Díaz was the deputy director of International Economic Law at CIGI.
James Bacchus is a CIGI senior fellow, as well as the Distinguished University Professor of Global Affairs and director of the Center for Global Economic and Environmental Opportunity at the University of Central Florida.
Oonagh E. Fitzgerald was director of international law at CIGI from April 2014 to February 2020.
In this role, she established and oversaw CIGI’s international law research agenda, which included policy-relevant research on issues of international economic law, environmental law, IP law and innovation, and Indigenous law.
Rohinton P. Medhora is president of the Centre for International Governance Innovation and a member of the Commission on Global Economic Transformation, an initiative co-chaired by Nobel economics laureates Michael Spence and Joseph Stiglitz.
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