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New international investment agreements

Members of the Group of 20 (G-20) concluded three new international investment agreements (IIAs) between May 16 and October 15, 2022.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) noted that G20 members concluded two new bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and one “other IIA”: the Indonesia-Switzerland BIT, the BahrainJapan BIT, and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates.

In addition, Malaysia and Turkey signed a protocol to amend the 2014 free trade agreement.

International investment agreements

During the same period, one BIT involving G20 members was effectively terminated; none of the BITs or “other IIAs” concluded by G20 members entered into force.

As of October 15, 2022, the total number of IIAs worldwide was 2,850 BITs and 432 “other IIAs.”

Data on G20 members’ IIAs are available in Annex 5: International Investment Agreements of G20 members.

General policy implications

After a period in which G20 members adjusted their investment policies to the exceptional economic circumstances brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic crisis and the war in Ukraine, the frequency of investment policy reform in G20 members has again slowed significantly.

Now investment policy measures in G20 members are again essentially focused on policy adjustments that seek to address the implications that foreign investment may occasionally have for essential security interests.

Despite their potential impact on international investment, according to the WTO, these policies do not constitute a departure from the general stance of openness to international investment, which remains paramount to addressing future crises, to achieving a rapid and just transition to carbon neutrality, and to overcoming the continuing and growing poverty in and within societies.

In this regard, the WTO believes that continued vigilance and engagement by G20 members is necessary.

“Other IIAs” encompass a range of international agreements with investment protection, promotion and/or cooperation provisions, other than BITs.

They include free trade agreements (FTAs), regional trade and investment agreements (RIAs), comprehensive economic partnership agreements (CETAs), cooperation agreements, association agreements, economic complementation agreements, closer economic partnership agreements, agreements establishing free trade areas, and trade and investment framework agreements (TIFAs).

Unlike BITs, “other IIAs” may also include plurilateral agreements.

 

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