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Multilateral Investment Court: Overview of the reform proposals and prospects

28-01-2020

The Council of the European Union has authorised the European Commission to represent the EU and its Member States at the intergovernmental talks at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), with a view to reforming the existing investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system. The latter provides a procedural framework for disputes between international investors and hosting states, and relies on arbitration procedures. However, there have been growing concerns among states ...

The Council of the European Union has authorised the European Commission to represent the EU and its Member States at the intergovernmental talks at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), with a view to reforming the existing investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system. The latter provides a procedural framework for disputes between international investors and hosting states, and relies on arbitration procedures. However, there have been growing concerns among states and stakeholders about the system's reliance on arbitrators, given its lack of transparency, issues over the predictability and consistency of their decisions, and the excessive costs involved. UNCITRAL talks aim to address these concerns by reforming the system. The EU and its Member States support the establishment of a multilateral investment court (MIC), composed of a first instance and an appellate tribunal staffed by full-time adjudicators. UNCITRAL talks on ISDS reform started in 2017. In April 2019, the working group finalised the list of concerns regarding the current ISDS system and agreed that it was desirable to work on reforms. The states then tabled reform proposals that provided the framework for the discussions that started in October 2019. The proposals range from introducing binding rules for arbitrators to setting up formal investment courts comprised of first instance and appellate tribunals. All in all, the proposals reflect two distinct approaches. Some states back the creation of tools – such as a code of conduct and/or an advisory body for smaller economies and small and medium-sized enterprises – to complement the current system. Others favour fundamental changes through the creation of a two-court system with appointed members. The latest round of talks took place in January 2020, and another is scheduled for March/April 2020. Although states are eager to reform the ISDS system, the complexity of the issue is likely to require additional sessions before agreement can be reached.

International trade [What Think Tanks are thinking]

13-09-2019

The escalating trade conflict between the United States (US) and China has dampened economic growth in the European Union and other regions of the world, analysts say, and poses a further question mark over the continuity of the post-Cold War rules-based order. The EU is seeking to position itself as a defender of the multilateral rules-based system in the context of growing economic nationalism. The EU will need to coordinate closely its trade and climate policies, and think clearly about how best ...

The escalating trade conflict between the United States (US) and China has dampened economic growth in the European Union and other regions of the world, analysts say, and poses a further question mark over the continuity of the post-Cold War rules-based order. The EU is seeking to position itself as a defender of the multilateral rules-based system in the context of growing economic nationalism. The EU will need to coordinate closely its trade and climate policies, and think clearly about how best to defend its economic interests in the challenging new geopolitical environment facing the incoming European Commission. This note offers links to a series of recent commentaries and reports from major international think tanks and research institutes on international trade policy. More reports on trade can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are thinking' published in June 2018.

EU challenges at a time of transition [What Think Tanks are thinking]

06-09-2019

The European Union faces numerous challenges, both short and long-term, as it prepares to choose the new executive, a European Commission for the next five years, following elections to the European Parliament in May 2019. The most immediate task is for European Commission President-elect, Ursula von der Leyen, to put together a college of Commissioners and secure its approval by the European Parliament. The EU is also engaged in difficult talks on the terms of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from ...

The European Union faces numerous challenges, both short and long-term, as it prepares to choose the new executive, a European Commission for the next five years, following elections to the European Parliament in May 2019. The most immediate task is for European Commission President-elect, Ursula von der Leyen, to put together a college of Commissioners and secure its approval by the European Parliament. The EU is also engaged in difficult talks on the terms of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, currently due on 31 October. On the economic front, the EU needs to deal with the fallout of a trade conflict between the United States and China, and to boost its competitiveness, as the two other global powerhouses swiftly pursue the digitalisation of their economies. In the face of political volatility in the US, Europe should also consider enhancing its defence capabilities. Last, but not least, the Union must deliver on its pledge to remain the world’s leader in efforts to fight climate change. This note brings together recent commentaries, analyses and studies by major international think tanks and research institutes on challenges facing the EU. More papers analysing the outcome of the European Elections can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking’, published in July.

Balanced and fairer world trade defence: EU, US and WTO perspectives

29-05-2019

This workshop of the Committee on International Trade discussed recent developments in trade defence legislation and practice from the perspectives of the EU, the USA and the WTO. A set of trade defence rules have been agreed in the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in particular on anti-dumping, anti-subsidies and safeguards. The WTO also provides a dispute settlement system for cases brought forward by its members. The EU has recently adopted two sets of new legislation on Trade ...

This workshop of the Committee on International Trade discussed recent developments in trade defence legislation and practice from the perspectives of the EU, the USA and the WTO. A set of trade defence rules have been agreed in the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in particular on anti-dumping, anti-subsidies and safeguards. The WTO also provides a dispute settlement system for cases brought forward by its members. The EU has recently adopted two sets of new legislation on Trade Defence Instruments (TDI), known as ‘TDI methodology’ and ‘TDI modernisation’. These new rules aim at enhancing the EU’s trade defence, without deviating from its commitment to an open economic environment set in an international rules based order. The US has its own rules and practice for trade defence and continues to distinguish between countries having a market economy and those who don’t - a difference abandoned by the EU in its latest reform. Moreover, the Trump Administration has imposed many new tariffs on foreign imports, often based on the national security exception provided by the WTO - a justification contested by most of the countries targeted. Furthermore, the US expressed concerns about the system of dispute settlement in the WTO, blocking nominations to its Appellate Body. Experts gave their views on whether all these recent developments are contributing to an international trade defence regime that is ‘fair’ and ‘balanced’, taking into account the different perspectives.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Erdal YALCIN, Hannes WELGE, André SAPIR, Petros C. MAVROIDIS

Towards a new EU policy approach to China: 21st EU-China Summit – April 2019

08-04-2019

With the European Parliament elections set for May 2019, the 21st EU-China Summit has been advanced, to be held in Brussels on 9 April 2019, only nine months after the previous one. The 2018 summit's joint statement captured a broad range of deliverables that had been achieved over a three-year period, since the EU and China had failed to agree on joint statements in 2016 and 2017. Considering that not even the short-term commitments on the trade and investment agenda from 2018 have been met, that ...

With the European Parliament elections set for May 2019, the 21st EU-China Summit has been advanced, to be held in Brussels on 9 April 2019, only nine months after the previous one. The 2018 summit's joint statement captured a broad range of deliverables that had been achieved over a three-year period, since the EU and China had failed to agree on joint statements in 2016 and 2017. Considering that not even the short-term commitments on the trade and investment agenda from 2018 have been met, that the context of US-China great power competition looms large and that the EU has adopted more assertive language in its recently issued EU-China strategic outlook, it remains to be seen whether meaningful outcomes will be reached at this year's summit.

EU investment protection after the ECJ Opinion on Singapore: Questions of competence and coherence

25-03-2019

Investment protection continues to be a controversial issue, as shown in particular during the negotiations on the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). To address stakeholder concerns, the EU has moved from traditional investor-state dispute settlement arrangements towards introducing bilateral investment court systems in new agreements and pursuing the goal of establishing a permanent multilateral investment ...

Investment protection continues to be a controversial issue, as shown in particular during the negotiations on the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). To address stakeholder concerns, the EU has moved from traditional investor-state dispute settlement arrangements towards introducing bilateral investment court systems in new agreements and pursuing the goal of establishing a permanent multilateral investment court. At the same time, the European Court of Justice defined the limits of the Union’s exclusive competence in its opinion of 16 May 2017 with regard to the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which has led to the splitting of new FTAs into two parts, treating investment protection separately. Adding to the complex picture, a plethora of EU Member States’ bilateral investment treaties also remain in place. The workshop held by the Committee on International Trade took stock of existing EU investment protection provisions and analysed the options for a coherent and predictable dispute settlement system in line with the EU Treaties.

Ulkopuolinen laatija

Prof. Dr. Steffen HINDELANG, LL.M., Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark, and Dr. Jurgita BAUR, Germany; and Prof. Dr. Stephan SCHILL, LL.M., Amsterdam Center for International Law, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

US duties on imports of Spanish ripe olives

06-03-2019

In January 2019, the European Union (EU) launched a case before the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the United States (US) challenging duties on imports of Spanish ripe olives, definitively in place since July 2018. US authorities have concluded that certain EU support measures for Spanish olive producers under the common agricultural policy (CAP) are contrary to WTO rules and can be countervailed. Given the importance of such support for EU farmers, the US measures could have far-reaching ...

In January 2019, the European Union (EU) launched a case before the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the United States (US) challenging duties on imports of Spanish ripe olives, definitively in place since July 2018. US authorities have concluded that certain EU support measures for Spanish olive producers under the common agricultural policy (CAP) are contrary to WTO rules and can be countervailed. Given the importance of such support for EU farmers, the US measures could have far-reaching consequences for the EU's agricultural model and set precedents in the WTO.

Expedited settlement of commercial disputes

05-12-2018

The value of cross-border civil litigation is estimated at €7.7 billion annually. However, enforcing cross-border commercial contracts in national courts is cumbersome due to often protracted civil proceedings and divergences in national procedural rules. The Legal Affairs Committee suggests to remedy this by creating a European expedited civil procedure, and possibly even establishing a European commercial court. The committee’s legislative-initiative report is due to be debated during the December ...

The value of cross-border civil litigation is estimated at €7.7 billion annually. However, enforcing cross-border commercial contracts in national courts is cumbersome due to often protracted civil proceedings and divergences in national procedural rules. The Legal Affairs Committee suggests to remedy this by creating a European expedited civil procedure, and possibly even establishing a European commercial court. The committee’s legislative-initiative report is due to be debated during the December plenary session.

Expedited settlement of commercial disputes in the European Union

05-12-2018

The EU legal services market is the second largest in the world. Commercial, business to business (B2B) litigation is one of the largest segments of the legal services market. The EU measures on choice of law, choice of forum and enforcement proved to be successful in supporting EU competitiveness. However, to enhance competitiveness of the EU litigation market and ensure further growth, a set of EU measures to simplify and expedite settlement of commercial disputes is needed. The EU measures should ...

The EU legal services market is the second largest in the world. Commercial, business to business (B2B) litigation is one of the largest segments of the legal services market. The EU measures on choice of law, choice of forum and enforcement proved to be successful in supporting EU competitiveness. However, to enhance competitiveness of the EU litigation market and ensure further growth, a set of EU measures to simplify and expedite settlement of commercial disputes is needed. The EU measures should focus on the enhancement of procedural efficiency, among other things, by taking action to reduce length of procedure. The 2018 European Added Value Assessment (EAVA) suggests that the EU actions to expedite settlement of commercial disputes could generate European added value for the EU economy and businesses in the range of 4.6 to 5.7 billion EUR annually. The European added value can be created through increase in direct contribution of litigation services revenues to the EU economy and through reduction of opportunity costs to business associated with length of judicial proceedings.

The G20 Summit in Buenos Aires

29-11-2018

On 30 November and 1 December 2018, Argentina hosts the 13th Group of Twenty (G20) summit. This is the first time that a G20 summit is being hosted by a South American country, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the consolidation of the G20 at leader level following the 2008 summit in Washington. Main challenges will include achieving consensus on climate and trade, with US-China relations being a decisive factor in the latter.

On 30 November and 1 December 2018, Argentina hosts the 13th Group of Twenty (G20) summit. This is the first time that a G20 summit is being hosted by a South American country, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the consolidation of the G20 at leader level following the 2008 summit in Washington. Main challenges will include achieving consensus on climate and trade, with US-China relations being a decisive factor in the latter.

Tulevat tapahtumat

14-10-2020
EPRS online policy roundtable: EU Security and Defence
Muu tapahtuma -
EPRS
15-10-2020
ECI Hearing on ‘Minority Safepack - one million signatures for diversity in Europe’
Muu tapahtuma -
LIBE CULT PETI
27-10-2020
EPRS online Book Talk | Beyond Christendom - The politics of religion in Europe today
Muu tapahtuma -
EPRS

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