The Non-Ratification of Bilateral Investment Treaties in Brazil: A Story of Conflict in a Land of Cooperation

29 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2013

See all articles by Leany Barreiro Lemos

Leany Barreiro Lemos

Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil - Federal Senate

Daniela Campello

Getúlio Vargas Foundation

Date Written: April 1, 2013

Abstract

This article examines Brazil's unique experience with bilateral investment treaties (BITs) – the country signed fourteen of them in the 90's, but none was ever enacted. The case is puzzling for a number of reasons; first, the Brazilian political system is notorious for its concentration of power in the executive branch, and BITs were an initiative of the executive. Moreover, the executive has been particularly successful at enacting international treaties in the country; 98 percent of those signed between 1988 and 2006 were ratified, half of them within eighteen months. Finally, the Brazilian Congress approved various investor-friendly policies that required even higher voting thresholds in the same period that BITs were being negotiated. We use primary legislative data and interviews with policymakers and bureaucrats to argue that concentrated but strong ideological opposition in Congress certainly contributed to the difficulties of BIT enactment, but an unresolved executive – which addressed most investor's demands through alternative channels – was the main factor in explaining non-ratification. Ultimately, our findings imply that the literature on BIT needs to open the black box of the executive in order to better understand the determinants of treaties' enactment.

Keywords: Bilateral Investment Treaties, BITs, executive-legislative relations, Brazil

Suggested Citation

Lemos, Leany Barreiro and Campello, Daniela, The Non-Ratification of Bilateral Investment Treaties in Brazil: A Story of Conflict in a Land of Cooperation (April 1, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2243120 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2243120

Leany Barreiro Lemos

Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil - Federal Senate ( email )

SQS 112 - I - 602
Brasilia
Brazil

Daniela Campello (Contact Author)

Getúlio Vargas Foundation ( email )

Praia de Botafogo 190
office 517
Rio de Janeiro, NJ Rio de Janeiro 22240070
United States
2137995809 (Phone)

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