BITs and a WTO Investment Framework
BITs have changed over time from an investment promotion instrument for development in developing countries to an instrument for the protection of investment in the interest of the Northern investor. The argument that BITs are attracting foreign investment, which is assumed to be needed for development, cannot be substantiated by research evidence. This means that the argument that an MIA is needed to attract foreign direct investment is not valid. An MIA might consolidate the current tendency of investment agreements which could be geared towards the protection of the investor and leave out promotion instruments for development-friendly investment and forego a better balance between rights and obligations of investors and home countries. It seems unlikely that industrialised nations which have been so unwilling the last 10 years to put development at the heart of investment agreements, will do so when they are negotiating together in the WTO. This changes the argument from proponents of an MIA negotiation in the WTO that an eventual coalition of developing countries will be able to get better terms for development than when negotiating BITs with one Northern country.
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