An important note crossed my inbox: The Centre for International Law at the National University of Singapore is pleased to announce a call for papers for a workshop, entitled “International Investment Treaties and National Governance”, which shall take place on 16 -17 November 2017 in Singapore. The website for the call is here.
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.
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 (but not necessarily limited to) Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. In particular, we are interested in the following questions:
(1) How/to what extent are investment treaties internalized and taken into account in governmental (legislative, executive, regulatory, courts) decision-making?
(2) What are the formal laws, regulations and policies through which governments internalize investment treaties in their activities and decision-making?
(3) What are the informal measures/practices through which governments internalize investment treaties in their activities and decision-making?
(4) What effect, if at all, has the conclusion of investment treaties had on good governance reforms?
(5) What explains the level of internationalization of investment treaty obligations found in individual states?
(6) What explains the spillover (if such spillover has occurred) from international investment obligations to good governance reforms?
c) Normative, going forward:
(7) How, if at all, should governments address internalization challenges?
(8) How, if at all, should future investment treaties be drafted/amended to account for these challenges?
Call for Abstracts
We welcome submissions addressing one or several of the above questions, focusing on Asian countries, including (but not necessarily limited to) Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. We welcome papers from the field of law and the social sciences (political science, public policy, sociology, anthropology, public administration, history etc.). We in particular welcome empirical studies.
How to Participate
Please submit a 1-page abstract (no more than 500 words) of the paper you plan to present to firstname.lastname@example.org, no later than 31 July 2017. We expect to be able to announce the result of the paper selection in early August. The deadline for the submission of selected papers of approximately 8,000 words will be 31 October 2017.
The workshop will take place on 16-17 November 2017 at the Centre for International Law at the National University of Singapore. Travel and accommodation will be provided for selected presenters travelling to Singapore. For colleagues wishing to attend the workshop without presenting a paper, registration is open too.