Chapter 21 The ‘object and purpose’ and incrementalism of investment treaties: can international investment law reinvent its identity?
Open access

This paper explains the shift in international policies on the treaty framework for foreign investment protection towards further clarity, specificity and inclusivity. It provides a tour d’horizon on how the investor and investment protection-centrism in investment law is giving way a multi-faceted object and purpose that takes into account public interests and interests of third parties. It chiefly argues that in light of their provisions concerning environment, health, general public interest, sustainable development, labor rights as well as investor obligations and responsibilities, new generation IIAs are increasingly becoming informed political-legal declarations. The emerging tendencies and patterns in treaty and policymaking indicate that unqualified, ambiguous international protections extended to foreign investors by earlier generation IIAs will give way to more and more inclusive IIAs assertive in their objective of protecting public interest goals.

  • 1997 Netherlands Model BIT.

  • 2003 India Model Text of BIPA.

  • 2004 Canada Model BIT.

  • 2004 Netherlands Model BIT.

  • 2004 US Model BIT.

  • 2015 Draft India Model BIPA.

  • 2015 Norway Model BIT: https://www.regjeringen.no/contentassets/e47326b61f424d4c9c3d470896492623/draft-model-agreement-english.pdf.

  • 2016 India Model BIPA.

  • 2018 Netherlands Model BIT.

  • Alvarez, J. E. and Khamsi, K. (2009) The Argentine Crisis and Foreign Investors: A Glimpse into the Heart of the Investment Regime. In Sauvant, K. P. (ed.), The Yearbook on International Investment Law and Policy 2008/2009. New York: Oxford University Press, 379–478.

  • Alvik, I. (2020) The Justification of Privilege in International Investment Law: Preferential Treatment of Foreign Investors as a Problem of Legitimacy. European Journal of International Law, 31(1), 289–312.

  • Argentina – Netherlands BIT (1994): http://investmentpolicyhub.unctad.org/Download/TreatyFile/107.

  • Baetens, F. (ed.) (2013) Investment Law within International Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Bear Creek Mining Corporation v. Republic of Peru (2017), ICSID Case No. ARB/14/21.

  • Bjorge, E. (2014) The Evolutionary Interpretation of Treaties. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Brown, C. (2018) The European Union’s Approach to Investment Dispute Settlement. 3rd Vienna Investment Arbitration Debate. https://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2018/july/tradoc_157112.pdf.

  • Canada – Colombia Free Trade Agreement (2008).

  • Canada – Peru Free Trade Agreement (2009).

  • Choudhury, B. (2020) Investor Obligations for Human Rights. ICSID Review, 35. 82–104.

  • Chung, O. (2007) The Lopsided International Investment Law Regime and Its Effect on the Future of Investor-State Arbitration. Virginia Journal of International Law, 47, 953–976.

  • Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA 2014). http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2014/september/tradoc_152806.pdf.

  • Czech Republic – Netherlands BIT (1992).

  • Dolzer, R. and Bloch, F. (2003) Indirect Expropriation: Conceptual Realignments? International Law Forum du droit international, 5, 155–165.

  • Dolzer, R. and Schreuer, C. (2012) Principles of International Investment Law, 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Dörr, O. and Schmalenbach, K. (2011) Article 31: General Rules of Interpretation. In Dorr, O. and Schmalenbach, K. (eds), Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties: A Commentary. Heidelberg: Springer, 521–570.

  • Dothan, S. (2019) The Three Traditional Approaches to Treaty Interpretation: A Current Application to the European Court of Human Rights. Fordham International Law Journal, 42, 765.

  • Eco Oro Minerals Corp. v. Republic of Colombia (2021), ICSID Case No. ARB/16/41.

  • EU – Singapore Investment Protection Agreement (EUSIPA 2019).

  • EU – Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EUVIPA 2020).

  • European Commission (2019) Press Release, Trade: European Court of Justice Confirms Compatibility of Investment Court System with EU Treaties (30 April). https://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-2334_en.htm.

  • Foreign Policy (2016) These 25 Companies Are More Powerful Than Many Countries (15 March). https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/03/15/these-25-companies-are-more-powerful-than-many-countries-multinational-corporate-wealth-power/.

  • Franck, S. (2005) The Legitimacy Crisis in Investment Arbitration: Privatizing Public International Law through Inconsistent Decisions. Fordham Law Review, 73, 1521–1625.

  • Kläger, R. (2011) ‘Fair and Equitable Treatment’ in International Investment Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Miles, K. (2013) The Origins of International Investment Law: Empire, Environment and the Safeguarding of Capital. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Newcombe, A. and Paradell, L. (2009) Law and Practice of Investment Treaties: Standards of Treatment. Alphen aan den Rijn: Kluwer.

  • Noble Ventures, Inc. v. Romania (2005), ICSID Case No. ARB/01/1, Award, par. 52.

  • OECD (2004) Most-Favoured-Nation Treatment in International Investment Law. Working Papers on International Investment 2004/02. https://www.oecd.org/daf/inv/investment-policy/WP-2004_2.pdf.

  • Philip Morris Asia Limited v. Australia, UNCITRAL, PCA Case No. 2012-12.

  • Philip Morris Brands Sarl and others v. Uruguay, ICSID ARB/10/7.

  • Polonskaya, K. (2020) Metanarratives as a Trap: Critique of Investor-State Arbitration Reform. Journal of International Economic Law, 23, 949–971.

  • Pope & Talbot v. Canada (2001) UNCITRAL, NAFTA (Award on the Merits Phase II).

  • Poulsen, L. (2015) Bounded Rationality and Economic Diplomacy: The Politics of Investment Treaties in Developing Countries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Saluka Investments B.V. v. Czech Republic (2006) UNCITRAL, par. 300.

  • SGS Société Générale de Surveillance S.A. v. Philippines (2004), ICSID Case No. AR/02/6, Decision of the Tribunal on Objections to Jurisdiction, par. 116.

  • Slovakia – Iran BIT (2016): https://investmentpolicy.unctad.org/international-investment-agreements/treaties/bilateral-investment-treaties/3633/iran-islamic-republic-of---slovakia-bit-2016-.

  • Sornarajah, M. (2014) The International Law on Foreign Investment, 3rd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Steinitz, M. (2019) The Case for an International Court of Civil Justice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Treaty between the Federal Republic of Germany and Pakistan for the Promotion and Protection of Investments (1959; entry into force 1962). http://investmentpolicyhub.unctad.org/Download/TreatyFile/1387.

  • UNCTAD (2020) The Changing IIA Landscape: New Treaties and Recent Policy Developments. IIA Issues Note, Issue 1 (July). https://unctad.org/system/files/official-document/diaepcbinf2020d4.pdf.

  • United Nations, Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 23 May 1969, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1155.

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN General Assembly (10 December 1948).

  • Ünüvar, G. (forthcoming) The Vague Meaning of Fair and Equitable Treatment Principle in Investment Arbitration and New Generation Clarifications. In Jemielniak, J. and Kjær, A. L. (eds), Legal Interpretation in the Practice of International Courts and Tribunals. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Van Harten, G. (2008) Investment Treaty Arbitration and Public Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Van Ho, T. (2016) Is It Already Too Late for Colombia’s Land Restitution Process? The Impact of International Investment Law on Transitional Justice Initiatives. International Human Rights Law Review, 5(1), 60–85.

  • Vattenfall AB and others v. Germany, ICSID ARB/12/12.