Economic Development

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Sovereign White Knights: Defensive State-Capitalism as a Gate Keeper of (EU) Economic Security?

Geopolitical considerations have been creeping into corporate and international economic laws. Faced with rapidly increasing inbound foreign direct investment by corporations from competing economies, many countries have either strengthened existing, or developed new, investment screening mechanisms. These mechanisms enable host country governments to decide whether to admit foreign investment, and if so, whether conditions should be imposed. A key goal of the screening is to ensure foreign investments do not pose national security risks. While these mechanisms have existed in many Western countries since the 1970s, their use has increased exponentially in recent years in light of the current geopolitical situation with Russia and China leading to many investments being blocked. For example, the governments of the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy recently blocked the acquisitions of semi-conductor businesses by foreign buyers. Similar examples abound regarding acquisitions in extractive industries in particular in Canada and Australia. The power of governments under investment screening mechanisms is, however, not…

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Development, Marine Biodiversity, and the Common Heritage of Mankind: The ISA’s Deep Seabed Mining Quandary and Complying with the High Seas BBNJ Convention

Starting July 9, 2023, the International Seabed Authority (ISA), sited in Jamaica, will allow companies to file permit applications for commercial deep seabed mining. In 2021, the Government of Nauru invoked Section 1(15) of the 1994 Implementation Agreement to Part XI of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which effectively started…

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The G7’s Fear of Economic Coercion through Weaponised Interdependence – Geopolitical Competition Cloaked in International Law?

President Zelensky’s attendance of the G7 Summit in Hiroshima (19 – 21 May 2023) was not the only significant moment of the event. Pundits have zeroed on something else, describing the summit as “a launch party for one phrase in particular: economic coercion” – China’s economic coercion. A launch party it was indeed. The…

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The Credit Suisse Crisis and International Law II: We Live in a Swap Line World

Immediately after the public announcement of the emergency takeover of Credit Suisse (CS) by UBS on 19 March 2023, six of the world’s major central banks announced a coordinated action to prevent a global liquidity crisis in reaction to the CS collapse. The Federal Reserve (Fed), the European Central Bank (ECB), the Bank of England (BoE), the…

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The EU’s Inconsistent Approach towards Sustainability Treaties: Due diligence legislation v. trade policy

In February 2022 the European Commission launched a proposal for an EU corporate sustainability due diligence directive (‘CSDDD proposal’). Companies will be mandated, under threat of sanctions, to monitor adverse impacts that may arise throughout their value chain from violations of a series of sustainability treaties: that is, treaties on human rights, labor and the environment. These…

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