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The Australian National University

Investor-State Arbitration: The Roadmap from the Multilateral Agreement on Investment to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Razeen Sappideen and Ling Ling He (2012) 40 (2)

Capital exporting countries have attempted to protect the overseas investments of their multinational corporations (MNC) against host nation governments expropriating these investments, limiting the right to repatriate profits, or subjecting the withdrawal of their investments to heavy penalties. The aborted Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) of the mid-1990s was an attempt at transferring these concerns to a settled legal framework between nations. Some limited expression of this is found in the provisions of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Dispute Settlement Understanding, while more substantive assertions are found in the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions of bilateral trade and investment agreements entered into between developed and developing economies. However, recent legal challenges and associated public relations campaigns by MNC directed at Public Law and Health measures have caused governments to reassess the situation. A classic example of this has been the challenge by tobacco companies against the plain cigarette packaging legislation introduced by the Canadian and Australian governments. The Australian Government's response to this through its statement of position in respect of future bilateral agreements and its Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 (Cth)1 is equally path breaking. This article examines the dramatic turnaround in perspective of States in respect of Investor-State arbitration, and its impact on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) currently being negotiated.

Vol 40, Issue 2, 2012

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