Pakistan will renegotiate all bilateral investment treaties (BITs) on the basis of new BIT template being finalised by the government, a top official of the Board of Investment said.
UN experts today called on States to ensure that international investment agreements do not provide a “safe harbour” for investors to abuse the human rights of individuals and communities.
Investor–state arbitration has grown over the years to become one of the most dynamic and controversial features of international investment law.
As governments try to phase out coal and leave fossil fuels in the ground, lawsuits from industry investors are starting to pile up around them.
The broad mandate given by UNCITRAL focuses on a limited set of procedural issues that fails to address the substantive concerns over the crisis of legitimacy confronting the international investment regime, and ISDS more specifically.
Pakistan Prime Minister has approved the new Bilateral Investment Treaty template whereby any dispute will now be remedied through local arbitration.
Business lobby groups started lobbying the European Commission to create a new parallel justice system, similar to the old intra-EU BITs, but compatible with EU law.
Nigerian labour unions and civil society organizations have urged the government not to assent to the ECT, explaining that the Treaty contains provisions for an Investor-State Dispute System (ISDS), which accords investors obscene privileges.
Pakistan, which entered into its first BIT with Germany in 1959 — which also was the first BIT ever entered — has concluded 53 BITs with 48 countries.
The overreach on display in the aggressive use of ISDS lawsuits by multinational corporations is just one part of a broader trend in recent decades in which the ability of states to regulate their economies in their own interests.
Sources said that the government will have its own template for a BIT, which will replace the existing treaties with different countries.
The EU and Canada adopted four decisions putting in place the Investment Court System provisions agreed in the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved the formation of a working group of experts for reforming Pakistan’s international investment regime.
The problem with the ISDS is not the format of the dispute settlement. The problem is that it is designed to give corporations power to go after government policies.
Meaningful reform aligned with sustainable development seems less likely
Why retain ISDS, this neo-colonial vestige that is not supported by consistent evidence that it contributes to advancing development or the rule of law?
A written submission from Japan published by the ECT secretariat rejected language on the “right to regulate” and changes to the investor-state dispute resolution mechanism.
Tanzania’s reforms show that the claim that African states should regard ISDS mechanism as the preferred method for resolving investment disputes is not only very contested, but that there are legitimate grounds for those contestations.
The hegemon aspirants in international investment law have already, and perhaps unwittingly, revealed their three step manual: Disguise, dismiss, divert.