Investor-State Mediation and the Belt and Road Initiative: Examining the Conditions for Settlement
Journal of International Economic Law, Volume 24, Issue 3, September 2021, Pages 609–629
41 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2022
Date Written: September 2021
Despite its dominance in the field, the variety of reform proposals for investor-state dispute settlement indicates stakeholder discontent with arbitration. One suggested reform is the introduction of investor-state mediation, which has been supported by the conclusion of the Singapore Convention on Mediation and the proposal by ICSID of a set of mediation rules. This article examines the respective merits of arbitration and mediation to settle investment disputes related to the Belt and Road Initiative. Many of the principles underpinning the implementation of the BRI sit uncomfortably alongside an adversarial adjudicative mechanism, and access to arbitration is limited in some investment treaties. It is argued that, in some instances, mediation may be more attuned to the unique conditions of the BRI. Stakeholders have done considerable work to enhance the legitimacy of mediation within the field of investor-state dispute settlement, but it remains dormant in practice and comparatively rare within investment treaties. While a mediated settlement will remain elusive in many instances, it can be encouraged by a series of reforms to treaty drafting, the internal organization of government departments, and the actions of foreign investors.
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