Regional investment treaties

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Will the Morocco-Nigeria Bilateral Investment Treaty Transform Sustainable Development into Hard Law?

The SDGs have now received virtually global endorsement. At the same time, new BITs have emerged which incorporate both the SDGs and the concept of sustainable development. This includes Morocco-Nigeria BIT 2016 (‘the Treaty’) which may prove to be the IIA that transforms sustainable development from a ‘mere’ political commitment or soft law into a hard legal obligation (for a view on substantive provisions on sustainable development and their non-legally binding nature see Fauchald, p.189). The Treaty refers to the SDGs and to sustainable development. In that sense, it is one of 60‑something International Investment Agreements (‘IIAs’) concluded since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (‘SDGs’) by the U.N. General Assembly in 2015, which contain provisions addressing the SDGs directly. However, what makes the Treaty potentially a trailblazer in this field is the specific way in which it weaves sustainable development into its substantive provisions, particularly on the right to regulate and the definition of investment, as well as its Preamble. Article 1.3 appears to be the first…

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Killing all birds with one stone: Is this the end of Intra-EU BITs (as we know them)

On 5 May 2020, 23 EU Member States, except for Austria, Ireland, Finland, and Sweden, signed the Agreement for the Termination of Bilateral Investment Treaties between the Member States of the European Union (the Agreement). Its adoption is the latest development in the debate on the incompatibility of bilateral investment treaties between Member States (Intra-EU BITs) with…

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The Scorecard of the USMCA Protocol of Amendment

    The U.S. House of Representatives approved December 19 the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by an overwhelming margin of 385-41. The Senate is expected to do the same in mid-January. As everyone knows by now, USMCA is a revision and replacement for the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a regional trade agreement…

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Remaking the World towards ‘Fair and Reciprocal Trade’? The Case for (More) Interdisciplinarity in International Economic Law

Geopolitical changes were on full display last week at multiple economic summits in Asia, where red carpet pageantry converged with the dramatic publicity of States brokering new deals at the regional meetings for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Viet Nam, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Heads of State Summit and the 12th…

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The Human Costs of Exiting Trade Agreements: The Right to Development in an Era of Policy Uncertainty

October 2017 has been a cliffhanger month for global policy uncertainty, especially highlighted by the mirroring acts of brinksmanship during intense trade negotiations on both sides of the Atlantic.  With the looming 29 March 2019 Brexit deadline, UK Prime Minister Theresa May surprised Brexit hardliners when she announced on 23 October that there will be no…

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