Investment Treaty Arbitration Policy in Australia, New Zealand – and Korea?
Journal of Arbitration Studies, Vol. 25, No. 3, pp. 185-226, 2015
31 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2015 Last revised: 9 Mar 2016
Date Written: August 13, 2015
As in some developing countries and more recently some developed countries worldwide and in the Asian region, Australia has faced significant internal opposition and public debate especially over treaty-based investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). As outlined in Part II(1), concerns have re-emerged and escalated since the first-ever claim was brought against Australia regarding its tobacco plain packaging legislation, in 2011 by Philip Morris Asia under an old BIT with Hong Kong. However, Australia signed bilateral FTAs with Korea in 2014 and with China in 2015, including ISDS protections, prompting several sets of parliamentary inquiries (Part II(2)).
Australia’s close trading partner, New Zealand, had already concluded an FTA with China in 2008 that included more expansive ISDS-backed investor protections. In 2015, the New Zealand Parliament has been debating ratification of its own FTA with Korea, with ISDS also now attracting growing scrutiny, as elaborated in Part III below.
In both bilateral FTA negotiations, the present Korean government seems to have reverted to a strong preference for concluding investment agreements with extensive ISDS protections, despite public and parliamentary debate around 2011 in the context of ratifying its FTA with the United States. As mentioned briefly in the concluding Part IV, Korea’s stance has significant implications for the future trajectory of treaty-based ISDS – and indeed international arbitration more generally – in the Asia-Pacific region, and perhaps even globally.
Keywords: international investment law, international arbitration (ISDS), Asian law, international economic law, dispute resolution, law reform process
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation