Recent Developments in the Most Controversial Aspects of EU International Investment Agreements: Portfolio Investments and Investor-State Dispute Settlement
Transnational Dispute Management, Vol. 13, issue 1
17 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2017
Date Written: March 1, 2016
The most controversial issues regarding EU international investment agreements are, on the one hand, the actual extent of the EU’s exclusive external competence over international investments and, on the other, the opportunity to include investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clauses in these agreements. The former issue is mainly a legal question, and it especially concerns the inclusion of portfolio investments in the EU’s exclusive external competence. In this respect, this article seeks to provide some insights on the opinion that the European Commission has recently requested from the Court of Justice on the free trade agreement between the EU and Singapore on the basis of the latest developments in the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union. By contrast, the second issue is mainly a political question and focuses on the inclusion of ISDS in the investment chapter of the Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada. In this respect, while highlighting the main criticisms of the inclusion of ISDS in CETA, it is argued that the right response to European concerns about ISDS provisions in CETA and in TTIP should not be the removal of ISDS from those agreements. Instead, in order to reduce the asymmetric conditions related to the regulatory powers of the parties to CETA, it would be opportune to ask whether it may be appropriate to adopt, in the EU, a system of control on foreign investments like the one existing in Canada and in the United States. In particular, it is demonstrated how the solution can be found in Articles 64(2) and 207(2) TFEU that could be used to adopt a regulation establishing an EU committee on foreign investment in charge of the review of inflow investments coming from non-EU countries in order to protect the EU’s general interests — first, EU security and welfare — just as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and the Minister of Industry of Canada already do.
Keywords: FDI, foreign direct investment, portfolio investment, common commercial policy, EU law, international investment law, ISDS, investor-State dispute settlement, EU external competence, CETA, TTIP, international arbitration
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