The past few years saw a proliferation of international investment agreements (IIAs) at the bilateral, regional and interregional levels. Several developments are worth noting in this context. First, the universe of IIAs consisting of bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and other trade and investment agreements continued to expand. Second, a new generation of IIAs is emerging with provisions that tend to be increasingly sophisticated and complex in content, clarifying in greater detail the meaning of certain standard clauses and covering a broader range of issues. Third, economic development policy is becoming increasingly complicated by the web of overlapping commitments arising from IIAs containing a variety of provisions applicable to the same matters. Furthermore, the increasing activity in international investment treaty making has been paralleled by a rise in investor-State disputes. As a result of these developments, countries - and firms - have to operate within an increasingly complicated framework of multi-layered and multi-faceted investment rules.
The new generation of IIAs presents new challenges for policymakers. As global economic integration becomes ever deeper, managing the impacts of integration on the domestic economy becomes more complex and the challenges involved in concluding IIAs correspondingly greater.
This paper provides an overview of this new generation of IIAs, including the recent trends in the new generation of IIAs. The paper will also identify some of the key issues that have emerged in the new generation of IIAs, as well as some of the issues that arise as countries seek to ensure policy coherence in the face of a complex network of overlapping IIA provisions. Finally, the paper will conclude with a consideration of some of the implications for developing countries pertaining to the new generation of IIAs.