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Report

1 Sep 2020

Author:
Ruth Bergan, Trade Justice Movement

Shaping future UK trade policy: Investment Protection Provisions

Garry Knight | Public Domain Dedication

As the UK adopts its own independent trade policy for the first time in nearly 50 years, the government will need to make a number of policy decisions to shape the kind of agreements it wants to have with partner countries. This briefing note gives an overview of investment protection provisions – one of the key areas where policy will need to be developed – and sets out the options available to the UK...

...As the UK regains full responsibility for its trade and investment policy post-Brexit, it must seriously consider its approach to international investment protection. Existing agreements have not kept pace with developments in human rights and environmental protections, create a parallel legal system and offer significant benefits to investors with no corresponding obligations. Their vague wording has allowed for broad interpretation by tribunals without any requirement to follow case law, making the system unpredictable. There is little evidence to support the proposition that BITs lead to increased investment in partner countries. Finally, there is a serious possibility that countries are challenged for measures taken to protect their populations during the Covid-19 pandemic. Given the range of alternative options that are available and the continuing rejection of ISDS by countries around the world, the UK must use this opportunity to rethink its approach.

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