A Brief History of International Investment Agreements
U.C. Davis Journal of International Law & Policy, Vol. 12, No. 1, p. 157, 2005
39 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2013
One of the most remarkable phenomena in international law during the past fifteen years has been the extraordinary increase in the number of agreements concluded relating to the protection or liberalization of foreign investment. More than 2500 such agreements now exist, with the great majority having been concluded since 1990. This number includes almost 2400 bilateral investment treaties (BITs) as well as more than 200 trade agreements that contain investment provisions. Although the number of agreements has accelerated remarkably in recent years, international agreements relating to investment have a long history. Provisions relating to the protection of property abroad may be found in international agreements dating back to the late Eighteenth Century.
This essay traces the history of these international investment agreements. It finds that the history thus far comprises three separate eras. The first, the Colonial Era, began in the late Eighteenth Century and continued until the end of the Second World War. The second, the Post-Colonial Era, began with the end of the war and continued until approximately 1990, with the collapse of the Soviet Union. The third, the Global Era, began in approximately 1990 and continues until the present.
Keywords: international trade, foreign investment, international investment, international investment treaties, international investment agreements, bilateral investment treaties
JEL Classification: K10, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation