International Investment Treaties and National Governance

Participation in this event is by invitation only.

Date: 21–22 September 2018

Venue: NUS Centre for International Law


Asia Focus

The Centre for International Law at the National University of Singapore is pleased to announce the ‘2nd International Investment Treaties and National Governance workshop’, which will take place on 21–22 September 2018 in Singapore.

Workshop Context

International investment treaties establish a preferential system for the protection of the property of foreign investors.  Under these treaties, covered investors are granted substantive rights, which are independent (and often stronger) than those provided in domestic law.  In addition, covered investors are given the option of enforcing these rights outside of the host state’s courts through international arbitration.

Investment treaties are often said to have two principal effects for the states which enter into them.  First, it is asserted that investment treaties act to increase levels of foreign investment in host states.  Second, it is said that investment treaties have a positive effect on governance.  Out of their desire to avoid liability for breaches of investment treaties, the argument is made, states will internalize their international legal obligations, reform their governmental decision-making processes, and thereby improve the rule of law.

Although there is a significant amount of research examining the relationship between investment treaties and foreign investment flows, there is a lack of empirical research on the effects of investment treaties on domestic governance. Moreover, the premise regarding changes in governance rests on questionable assumptions about state behavior, especially in the developing world, where regulatory capacity is often limited.  Indeed, the few studies which have examined this question suggest that developing states’ awareness of international investment treaty obligations may be very low, and at times non-existent.

Workshop Focus

Against this background, this workshop is concerned with examining the effects of international investment treaties on national governance. The workshop focuses on Asian countries, including Indonesia, India, Myanmar, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

Post-Event Blurb

On 21-22 September 2018 the Investment Law and Policy Group at the Centre for International Law hosted the 2nd International Investment Treaties and National Governance Workshop. The workshop is part of an ongoing  research project launched in November 2017 on  “International Investment Treaties and National Governance”, which seeks to provide insights on the effects of investment treaties on national governance. The workshop brought together Asian legal scholars and prominent international investment law and policy scholars to discuss advanced papers on the internalization of investment treaties in a host of Asian countries (India, Indonesia, Myanmar, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam). For more information about the project, please contact Dr. Ayelet Berman.