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NGOs call for Bilateral Investment Treaty between Tanzania and The Netherlands that respects human rights

Author: Christopher Kidanka, The EastAfrican (Kenya), Published on: 30 July 2018

“Dar faces legal suit at international tribunals over tax, investment policies”

….Civil society organisations are pushing for the review of the BIT between Tanzania and The Netherlands which they say does not serve the best interests of Tanzania. BothENDS, a Netherlands’ organisation, has teamed up with The Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (Seatini), HakiMadini from Tanzania and Diakonia to lobby decision-makers in Tanzania to influence the treaty’s review. The lobbies want a rewording of the treaty to make it explicit that the intended investment promotion and protection will be pursued to the extent that it supports local development and not at the expense of key domestic development goals and public interest such as health, environment, human-rights, consumer protection, anti-corruption, consumer rights and the promotion of internationally recognised rights such as labour rights.

They want the preamble of the treaty to assert the right of the state to introduce new rules and regulations on investment. “It should also include an objective that captures the measurable and visible parameters of sustainable development that the investment is expected to influence. The objective of the Treaty may read: ‘To encourage and increase investments between investors of one state party into the territory of the other state party that supports employment, technology and skills transfer, synergises with local firms and, ultimately, contribute to poverty reduction in the host country in a sustainable way’,” reads a joint analysis of the contentious provisions of the treaty.

Tanzania and The Netherlands signed the Agreement on Encouragement and Reciprocal protection of investments that came into force on April 1, 2004 and is valid for 15 years until April next year. Article 14 (2), of the agreement provides that unless notice of termination or review has been given by either Tanzania or Netherlands at least six months before the date of the expiry of its validity, the agreement shall be automatically extended tacitly for 10 years. “As per this provision, notification by either parties Tanzania or Netherlands must be done by October 1, 2018, beyond which, the agreement would automatically be renewed. 

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