US’ Section 301 Actions are Illegitimate and Misguided
On 23rd August, the US Administration imposed yet another set of discriminatory tariffs on China under its Section 301 Trade Act covering US$16 billion of its imports from China. This is in addition to the additional tariffs imposed on 6 July 2018 on US$34 billion of its imports from China. According to the US, these actions are supposedly because of China’s unreasonable or discriminatory practices relating to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation.
How international investment agreements have made debt restructuring even more difficult and costly
International investment and trade agreements are legally binding international treaties which give investors an additional layer of legal protection on top of the host country law and contract law. However, little efforts have been made in ironing out the interface between these different laws and treaties. Inconsistencies and even contradictions have emerged in dispute settlement decisions, sometimes at the expense of public good, sovereignty and financial and economic stability. An asymmetry seems to exist in the allocation of risks and benefits between investors and recipients of investments. (more…)
Implications of a US Border Adjustment Tax, Especially on Developing Countries
A new protectionist device, the US “border adjustment” tax, is being planned that could devastate the exports of developing countries and cause American and other foreign companies to relocate. This policy brief explains the complexities and implications of this proposed measure and the major question of whether such a measure will violate the rules of the WTO is also examined.
The Need to Avoid “TRIPS-Plus” Patent Clauses in Trade Agreements
A recent article in a prestigious journal reminds us of how the intellectual property chapter of free trade agreements can prevent the sick from getting treatment. This article also critiques the TPP clauses and warns that they should not be translated to national laws or copied into other FTAs being negotiated. (more…)
Reflections on the Discussion of Investment Facilitation
‘Investment facilitation’ is a concept repeated in discussions pertaining to investment policies and treaties, including those addressing the reform of investment treaties. The discussion on investment facilitation is taking place in various fora and contexts. (more…)
The Experience of Sri Lanka with International Investment Treaties
This policy brief gives an overview of Sri Lanka’s experience with investment treaties, including highlights from a study undertaken by the authors in regard to the interface between BITs and FDI inflows. The brief also reviews international trends in relation to re-negotiating BITs and discusses the elements driving these trends, offering insights into the factors shaping this discussion in developing countries. (more…)
South Centre Presentation to the Special Event of the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly
UNCTAD organized a special event of the Second Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on 26 October 2016 in New York on “SOVEREIGN DEBT RESTRUCTURINGS: Lessons learned from legislative steps taken by certain countries and other appropriate action to reduce the vulnerability of sovereigns to holdout creditors”. Ms. Yuefen Li, Special Advisor on Economics and Development Finance of the South Centre, spoke as a panelist and alerted the UN Member States of the current legislative challenges facing the sovereigns when it comes to the need for sovereign debt restructuring including the impact of the plurilateral and bilateral trade and investment agreements.
Peruvian State’s Strategy for Addressing Investor State Disputes
This policy brief explains the approach adopted by Peru to establishment of the “System for the Coordination and Response of the State in International Investment Disputes” (SICRECI) and the role it played in responding to investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) cases faced by Peru. It gives an overview of the sixteen ISDS cases brought against Peru to date. While this institutional development adds value in terms of managing cases as they arise, the paper points out that this system faces major hurdles due to multiple challenges arising from ISDS. As shown in the paper, after the establishment of SICRECI, Peru continued to face a rising number of ISDS cases. (more…)
Corporations, Investment Decisions and Human Rights Regulatory Frameworks: Reflections on the discussion pertaining to FDI flows and the impact of a potential International Legally Binding Instrument on Business and Human Rights
This brief explores the question pertaining to the impact of States’ participation in designing an Instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises in the area of human rights on attracting foreign direct investment, which has been a persistent issue of discussion since the mandate of the inter-governmental group on the mentioned Instrument was established. (more…)
Recovering Sovereignty Over Natural Resources: The Cases of Bolivia and Ecuador
This document analyzes the renegotiation process of oil and gas contracts in two Latin American countries, Bolivia and Ecuador, from 2003 to 2010 and the measures taken for sectorial policy reform in the hydrocarbon sector and our conclusions are that it has been favourable. (more…)
The Annual Forum of Developing Country Investment Negotiators
The South Centre joins the International Institute for Sustainable Development annually in co-organizing the forum for developing country investment negotiators. The forum is a unique space dedicated to discussing current trends and perspectives in regard to international investment agreements, with a focus on developing countries’ experiences and objectives. It is dedicated to sharing of experiences and lessons learned from different national and regional contexts. (more…)