Mixed messages to investors as India quietly terminates bilateral investment treaties with 58 countries

The Government of India says it has sent notices to terminate bilateral investment treaties (BITs) with 58 countries, including 22 EU countries.  It has been reported that many of these BITs will cease to apply to new investments from as early as April 2017. The BIT between India and The Netherlands (which had been a common route for investment into India) has already been terminated from December 2016.  Termination of the BITs would also remove protection for new investments by Indian investors into the counterparty countries. For the remaining 25 of its BITs that have not completed their initial term, and so are not ripe for termination, India has circulated a proposed joint interpretative statement to the counterparties to these BITs seeking to align the ongoing treaties with its 2015 Model BIT.  While investments made before the termination of the 58 treaties may be protected for some years under the 'sunset' clauses in those BITs, India's actions send mixed messages at a time when the Indian government is making renewed efforts to attract inbound investment with its 'Make in India' campaign, and when outbound investment by Indian companies continues to increase into both developed and developing economies. 

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Urbaser v. Argentina and Burlington v. Ecuador: Investment arbitration is not over the counterclaims yet

Two recent decisions by tribunals have advanced the body of tribunal practice considering the issue of counterclaims by respondent states in investment treaty arbitration: Burlington Resources Inc. v. Ecuador, in which the tribunal awarded damages against the investor for breach of Ecuadorian environmental law in the performance of its investment, and Urbaser SA and Consorcio de Aguas Bilbao Bizkaia v. Argentina, in which the tribunal accepted jurisdiction to hear Argentina's counterclaim asserting that the investor had violated international human rights obligations. These decisions arise in the context of conceptual challenges to the pursuit of counterclaims in investment arbitration.

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New dispute resolution rules for foreign investors in South Africa

South Africa’s draft regulations for investor-state mediation require refinement to work effectively with international arbitration.

Interested parties have until 28 February 2017 to comment on draft Regulations on Mediation Rules (Regulations) published by South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on 30 December 2016, under the Protection of Investment Act, 2015 (Act).

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New regulation sets out financial responsibility for investor-state disputes between the European Union and third countries

Today (17 September 2014) a new European Regulation enters into force (EU No 912/2014) with wide-ranging implications for the global investment community. The Regulation allocates financial responsibility going forward, for claims brought by non-EU investors for harm done to their investment within the European Union. Depending on who was involved in the treatment in question – a Member State or a body, institution or agency of the EU itself, responsibility is allocated accordingly.

The rules will only be applied to investor-state disputes brought under agreements to which the EU is itself a party and which incorporate an Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism. The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) is one such treaty already in existence and several bilateral investment treaties (BITs) between the EU and third states are in the process of being negotiated, in some cases with a view to replacing the current BITs between EU Member States and third states. This forms part of a wider re-evaluation of investment issues and the relative competences of individual Member States and the EU.

EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht has described the Regulation as “another building block in our efforts to develop a transparent, accountable and balanced investor-to state dispute settlement mechanism as part of EU trade and investment policy.”

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Upcoming Webinar: Investment Treaties and the African Continent – Change, Risk and Opportunity

Tuesday 8 April 2014, 12.30 – 1.30pm BST

Drawing together the two strands of our recent webinars on Investment Treaty Arbitration and arbitration in the EMEA regions, this webinar will focus on Investment Treaties and the African continent.

Africa is brimming with an abundance of natural resources, talent and ambition. Investment into African jurisdictions is becoming increasingly desirable and competitive, with investors hailing from all over the developed and developing worlds.

In this webinar, our speakers will draw from their knowledge and experience to discuss the differing approaches adopted by African jurisdictions towards Investment Treaties and the continent’s history in terms of Investor-State disputes. The speakers will look at sources of foreign direct investment into Africa (such as China) and the impact this has had on the Investment Treaty landscape. Our speakers will then turn to consider the likely approaches to be adopted by African jurisdictions in future, and the risks and opportunities these present to our clients in the context of an increasingly transparent investor-state dispute settlement system.

Speakers:

Chaired by:

  • Hannah Ambrose, Arbitration Practice Manager, London

If you would like to register for this event please contact Prudence Heidemans.

A webinar is an online seminar delivered to your desktop. On the day of the webinar you will be sent a link to login to the live event.

The webinar is recorded so you can listen again. If you are unable to listen to the live event register anyway and you will be able to listen to the recorded version when convenient.

The webinar is interactive and we welcome questions from our audience. Email your comments to the speakers on the day using the appropriate tab on the player.