With the ascendancy of foreign direct investment (FDI) as one of the main factors driving international economic relations in the era of globalization, international investment rule-making has come to the forefront of economic diplomacy. Indeed, countries´ efforts to attract FDI and benefit from it increasingly take place in an environment characterized by a proliferation of investment rules at the bilateral, sub-regional, regional and multilateral levels. The resulting investment rules, numerous preferential free trade agreements with investment components, and multilateral agreements - are multi-layered and multi-faceted, with obligations differing in geographical scope and coverage and ranging from the voluntary to the binding. They constitute an intricate web of commitments that partly overlap and partly supplement one another.
It is this proliferation of international agreements addressing investment issues - international investment agreements (IIAs) for short - and hence the need to understand the issues that are raised in their negotiation that prompted UNCTAD to develop a series of 27 booklets on Issues in International Investment Agreements, which seeks to provide a balanced analyses of issues that arise in negotiations and/or discussions of IIAs.
These booklets are combined in this three-volume compilation, with each chapter dealing with a specific issue. Almost all chapters address a standard set of questions:
How is the concept/issue in question defined?
How has it been used in relevant instruments to date?
What are its connections with other key issues? and
What are the development implications?
At the same time, consideration is given to the fact that it is up to States to decide: which path to pursue; which framework to use; and which policy to follow. Hence, no specific recommendations are made. Instead, the chapters outline the options available to negotiators tasked with drafting the respective treaty provisions and point to specific circumstances that may or may not apply in the pursuit of each provision.
Virtually all the IIAs referred to in these volumes can be found either in UNCTAD´s publication International Investment Instruments: A Compendium or at www.unctad.org/iia.