For many countries investments laws are a core policy instrument to promote and regulate investment. Together with international investment agreements (IIAs), they constitute the basic legal framework for cross-border investment in many countries. Often, these laws and IIAs contain similar provisions.
UNCTAD research finds that at least 108 countries have an investment law as a core instrument to govern investment, almost all of which are either a developing country or an economy in transition.
Even though investment laws generally share the same objectives, their content and overall approaches differ significantly.
Key findings from this study include:
Most investment laws have investment promotion as their main objective, while only a few also deal with investment facilitation.
Sustainable development is an explicit goal only in a small minority of them.
Investment laws tend to show an imbalance between the coverage of investor rights and obligations.
Investment laws often cover the same issues as IIAs and more than half of the laws provide access to international arbitration.
The importance of investment laws calls for a deeper analysis of their content and their coherence with other investment-related policies and international investment treaties.