ICSID Lawyers

ACN (in Spanish: Comunidad Andina) refers to the Andean Community of Nations (ACN).

ACN is a customs union comprising the South American countries of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The trade bloc was called the Andean Pact until 1996 and came into existence with the signing of the Cartagena Agreement in 1969. ACN headquarters are located in Lima, Peru.

The Andean Community has 98 million inhabitants living in an area of 4,700,000 square kilometers, whose Gross Domestic Product amounted to US$745.3 billion in 2005, including Venezuela, (who was a member at that time).

Current Members: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru

Associate Members: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile

Observer Countries: Mexico, Panama

Former Members: Venezuela (1973-2006, currently in the process of joining Mercosur), Chile (Full Member 1969-1976, Observer 1976-2006, Associate Member since 2006, have stated ontentions of rejoining).

EU-CAAA refers to the European Union Central American Association Agreement.

ACP refers to the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.

ACP is a group of countries (currently 79: 48 African, 16 Caribbean and 15 Pacific), created by the Georgetown Agreement in 1975. ACP's main objectives are sustainable development and poverty reduction within its member states, as well as their greater integration into the global economy. All of the member states, except Cuba are signatories to the Cotonou Agreement with the European Union.

CACM refers to the Central American Common Market.

Central American Integration System (Spanish: Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana; SICA) is the economic, cultural and political organization of Central American states since February 1, 1993. It was on December 13, 1991, however, when all the countries of the ODECA (Spanish: Organización de Estados Centroamericanos; ODECA) signed the Protocol of Tegucigalpa which extended the earlier cooperation in search for regional peace, political freedom, democracy and economic development. The headquarters of the General Secretariat of SICA is in the Republic of El Salvador.

In 1991, the institutional framework of SICA included the States of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Belize joined in 2000 as full member, while the Dominican Republic became associated state in 2004. More recently, Mexico, Chile and Brazil became part of the organization as regional observers; while the Republic of China, Spain, Germany and Japan became extrarregional observers. The SICA has a standing invitation to participate as observers in the sessions of the United Nations General Assembly and maintaining permanent offices at UN Headquarters.

Four countries, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, are going through a process of political, cultural, and migratory integration and have formed a group called The Central America Four or CA-4, which has introduced common internal borders. Belize, Costa Rica, Panama and Dominican Republic join the CA-4 only in matters of economic integration and regional friendship.

FCN refers to a Freindship, Commerce and Navigation Treaty.

UNCTAD refers to the United Natiosn Conference on Trade and Development, established in 1964 as a permanent intergovernmental body. It is the principal organ of the United Nations General Assembly dealing with trade, investment, and development issues.

The organization's goals are to "maximize the trade, investment and development opportunities of developing countries and assist them in their efforts to integrate into the world economy on an equitable basis." (from official website). The creation of the conference was based on concerns of developing countries over the international market, multi-national corporations, and great disparity between developed nations and developing nations.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development was established in 1964 in order to provide a forum where the developing countries could discuss the problems relating to their economic development. UNCTAD grew from the view that existing institutions like GATT (now replaced by the WTO), the IMF, and World Bank were not properly organized to handle the particular problems of developing countries. UNCTAD has 193 members.

The primary objective of the UNCTAD is to formulate policies relating to all aspects of development including trade, aid, transport, finance and technology. The Conference ordinarily meets once in four years. The first conference took place in Geneva in 1964, second in New Delhi in 1968, the third in Santiago in 1972, fourth in Nairobi in 1976, the fifth in Manila in 1979, the sixth in Belgrade in 1983, the seventh in Geneva in 1987, the eighth in Cartagena in 1992 and the ninth at Johannesburg (South Africa)in 1996. The Conference has its permanent secretariat in Geneva.

One of the principal achievements of UNCTAD has been to conceive and implement the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). It was argued in UNCTAD, that in order to promote exports of manufactured goods from developing countries, it would be necessary to offer special tariff concessions to such exports. Accepting this argument, the developed countries formulated the GSP Scheme under which manufacturers' exports and some agricultural goods from the developing countries enter duty-free or at reduced rates in the developed countries. Since imports of such items from other developed countries are subject to the normal rates of duties, imports of the same items from developing countries would enjoy a competitive advantage.

Currently, UNCTAD has 193 member States and is headquartered in Geneva (Switzerland). UNCTAD has 400 staff members and an annual regular budget of approximately US$50 million and US$25 million of extra budgetary technical assistance funds.

DR-CAFTA is the Dominican Republic Central American Free Trade Agreement.

Originally, DR-CAFTA was CAFTA, a free trade agreement among the United States and the Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In 2004, Dominican Republic joined the pact, and CAFTA was renamed DR-CAFTA.

APTA refers to the Asia-Pacific Free Agreement.

APTA was known prior as the Bangkok Agreement (signed in 1975) and was renamed APTA 2 November 2005.

APTA is the oldest preferential trade agreement between developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Its aim is to promote economic development and cooperation through the adoption of mutually beneficial trade liberalization measures. APTA is open to all developing members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, which serves as the APTA Secretariat.

APTA Members:

Republic of Korea
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Sri Lanka

For more APTA information: http://www.unescap.org/tid/apta.asp 

SAFTA refers to the South Asian Free Trade Agreement.

The Agreement on the South Asian Free Trade Area is an agreement reached at the 12th SAARC summit at Islamabad, capital of Pakistan on 6 January 2004. It creates a framework for the creation of a free trade area covering 1.6 billion people in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and the Maldives.The seven foreign ministers of the region signed a framework agreement on SAFTA with zero customs duty on the trade of practically all products in the region by end 2016. The new agreement i.e. SAFTA, came into being on 1 January 2006 and will be operational following the ratification of the agreement by the seven governments. SAFTA requires the developing countries in South Asia, that is, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, to bring their duties down to 20 percent in the first phase of the two year period ending in 2007. In the final five year phase ending 2012, the 20 percent duty will be reduced to zero in a series of annual cuts. The least developed nations in South Asia consisting of Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Maldives have an additional three years to reduce tariffs to zero. India and Pakistan have signed but not ratified the treaty

CEMAC refers to the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa.

CEMAC was designed to promote the process of sub-regional integration through the forming of monetary union within Central Africa. The CFA franc was proposed to become the common currency. To date, CEMAC has not achieved its objective of creating a customs union.

EEA refers to the European Economic Area.

EUCZ refers to the European Union Customs Union.

The EUCZ is a customs union which consists of all the Member States of the European Union (EU) and a number of surrounding countries (Andorra, San Marino, Monaco, Turkey).

The EUCZ was a prime objective of the European Economic Community that was establihsed in 1958. No customs are levied on goods travelling within the customs union and—unlike a free trade area—members of the customs union impose a common external tariff on all goods entering the union. One of the consequences of the customs union is that the European Union has to negotiate as a single entity in international trade deals such as the World Trade Organisation.

While all EU members are part of the customs union, not all of their respective territories form part of the customs union. This may be because a territory is not part of the EU, because the territories have opt-outs, or are excluded from the customs union because of their economic or geographic circumstances.

AFTZ refers to the African Free Trade Zone.

The Africa Free Trade Zone is a free trade zone announced at the EAC-SADC-COMESA Summit on Wednesday October 22, 2008 by the heads of Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC). The African Free Trade Zone is also referred to as the African Free Trade Area in some official documents and press releases.

The AFTZ membership includes the following countries:

Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Swaziland, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The only natural member of the AFTZ not included was Somalia, due to the civil war that has left most of that country without a functioning government.

EEC refers to the Eurasian Economic Community.

The Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC or EAEC) originated from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) customs union between Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan on the 29 March 1996. It was named the EAEC on 10 October 2000 when Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan signed the Treaty on the Establishment of the Eurasian Economic Community. On 7 October 2005 it was decided by the member states that Uzbekistan would join.

EurAsEC was formally created when the treaty was finally ratified by all five member states in May 2001. Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine hold observer status. EurAsEC is working on establishing a common energy market and exploring the more efficient use of water in central Asia.

Freedom of movement is implemented among the members (no visa requirements). Common Economic Space is projected to be implemented 1 January 2010.

Eurasian Economic Community (EEC) Members: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan (suspended).

EEC Observers: Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine

CIS refers to the Commonwealth of Indepedent States.

ECT refers to the Energy Charter Treaty.

AALCO refers to the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization, an international governmental organization formed in 1956, initially to serve as an advisory board to member states on matters on international law. It was an outgrowth of the Bandung Conference, held in Indonesia during April, 1955, which led to the establishment of the Asian Legal Consultative Committee (ALCC). In April, 1958, it changed its name to the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee (AALCC) to reflect the growth of its membership beyond the African side of the UAR. Since 2001, it has been known by its current name, the AALCO, reflecting the growth of its international status; currently an Intergovernmental organization having received a standing UN invitation to participate as an observer in the sessions and the work of the General Assembly and maintaining a permanent office at Headquarters.

UN refers to the United Nations.

UNCITRAL refers to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law.

UNCITRAL was established by the United Nations General Assembly by Resolution 2205 (XXI) of 17 December 1966 "to promote the progressive harmonization and unification of international trade law".

UNCITRAL carries out its work at annual sessions held alternately in New York City and Vienna.

The UNCITRAL membership represents different legal traditions and levels of economic development, and different geographic regions. The current UNCITRAL membership formula is 14 African states, 14 Asian states, 8 Eastern European states, 10 Latin American and Caribbean states, and 14 Western European states. UNCITRAL member States are elected by the General Assembly. Membership is structured so as to be representative of the world's various geographic regions and its principal economic and legal systems. UNCITRAL members are elected for terms of six years, the terms of half the members expire every three years.

For more information about UNCITRAL: http://www.uncitral.org

WTO refers to the World Trade Organization.

WIPO refers to the World Intellectual Property Organization?

GCC refers to the Gulf Cooperation Council, it is also known as the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG).

The GCC is a political and economic union of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.

For more GCC information: http://www.gcc-sg.org

UNASUR refers to the Union of South American Nations.

UNASUR is an intergovernmental union integrating two existing customs unions: Mercosur and the Andean Community of Nations, as part of a continuing process of South American integration. It is modeled on the European Union.

The Unasur Constitutive Treaty was signed on May 23, 2008, at the Third Summit of Heads of State, held in Brasília, Brazil. According to the Constitutive Treaty, the Union's headquarters will be located in Quito, Ecuador. The South American Parliament will be located in Cochabamba, Bolivia, while the headquarters of its bank, the Bank of the South is located in Caracas, Venezuela.

For more UNASUR information: www.pptunasur.com 

MERCOSUR (also known as Mersocul in Spanish) refers to the Southern Common Market, an economic and political agreement between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Founded in 1991 by the Treaty of Asunción, which was later amended and updated by the 1994 Treaty of Ouro Preto. Its purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people, and currency. The official languages are Portuguese and Spanish. It has been updated, amended, and changed many times, it is now a full customs union. Mercosur and the Andean Community of Nations are customs unions that are components of a continuing process of South American integration connected to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

Mercosur origins trace back to 1985 when Presidents Raúl Alfonsín of Argentina and José Sarney of Brazil signed the Argentina-Brazil Integration and Economics Cooperation Program, the program also proposed the Gaucho as a currency for regional trade.

Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru currently have associate member status. Venezuela signed a membership agreement on 17 June 2006. The founding of the Mercosur Parliament was agreed at the December 2004 presidential summit. It should have 18 representatives from each country by 2010, regardless of population.

CARICOM refers to the Caribbean Community.

CARICOM is an intergovernmental organisation of 15 Caribbean nations and dependencies. CARICOM's main purposes are to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of integration are equitably shared, and to coordinate foreign policy. Its major activities involve coordinating economic policies and development planning; devising and instituting special projects for the less-developed countries within its jurisdiction; operating as a regional single market for many of its members (Caricom Single Market); and handling regional trade disputes.

The CARICOM Secretariat is located in Georgetown (Guyana).

CARICOM Members:

Antigua and Barbuda










Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Lucia

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines


Trinidad and Tobago

CARICOM Associate Members:



British Virgin Islands

Cayman Islands

Turks and Caicos Islands

CARICOM Observers: 




Dominican Republic


Netherlands Antilles

Puerto Rico

Saint Maarten


For more CARICOM information: www.caricom.org

The EU refers to the European Union. The EU is an economic and political union of 27 member states. The EU originated from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC). The Maastricht Treaty established the EU under its current name in 1993. The latest amendment of the EU's constitutional bais, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into forice in 2009.

The EU operates through a hybrid system of supranational indepedent institutions and intergovernemntally made decisions negotiated by the member states. The EU's primary institutions are the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, European Court of Auditors, and the European Parliament (parliemtnarians ar elected for 5 year yerms by EU citizens).

The EU has developed a single market through a standardised system of laws which apply in all member states including the abolition of passport controls within the Schengen area.  

To join the EU, an applicant state must qualify the Copenhagen criteria as defined at the 1993 Copenhagen European Council.

  • Original 6 founding states: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands.
  • Primary Treaties: Paris Treaty (23 July 1952); Rome Treaty (1 January 1958); Maastricht Treaty (1 November 1993); Lisbon Treaty (1 December 2009)
  • Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland are not EU members.

The AU refers to the African Union, a union consisting of 53 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). The most important decisions of the AU are made by the Assembly of the African Union, a semi-annual meeting of the heads of state and government of its member states. The AU's secretariat, the African Union Commission, is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

ASEAN refers to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

ASEAN orginated from an organization called the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA). ASA was an alliance consisting of the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand that was formed in 1961.  ASEAN is a geo-political and economic organization of 10 countries located in Southeast Asia. ASEAN was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, membership has expanded to include Brunei Darussalam, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. In 1976, Papua New Guinea was accorded ASEAN observer status. East Timor is in the process of becoming an ASEAN member.   

The Secretariat of ASEAN at Jalan Sisingamangaraja No. 70A, South Jakarta, Indonesia. Surprisingly, English is the official language of ASEAN).

ASEAN participates in the East Asia Summit (EAS), a pan-Asian forum held annually by the leaders of 16 countries in East Asia and the region. EAS participants are all 10 members of ASEAN together with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand who combined represent almost half of the world's population. At the October 2010 EAS, Russia and the United States were both formally invited to participate as full members, and each country will be participating at the head of state level in 2011.

ASEAN holds an annual meeting between the leaders of ASEAN member states and President of Russia called the ASEAN-Russia Summit.

For more ASEAN information: www.asean.org

APEC refers to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, a forum for 21 Pacific Rim countries (styled "Member Economies") that seeks to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional economic blocs (such as the European Union and the North American Free Trade Area) in other parts of the world, APEC works to raise living standards and education levels through sustainable economic growth and to foster a sense of community and an appreciation of shared interests among Asia-Pacific countries. Members account for approximately 40% of the world's population, approximately 54% of world GDP and about 44% of world trade.

An annual APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting is attended by the heads of government of all APEC members except the Republic of China (Taiwan) which is represented under the name Chinese Taipei by a ministerial-level official. The location of the meeting rotates annually among the member economies, and a famous tradition involves the attending Leaders dressing in a national costume of the host member.

BIMSTEC refers to the Bat of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation.

ALDI refers to the Latin American Integration Association.

ECOWAS refers to the Economic Community of West African States.

SAARC refers to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

CEFTA refers to the Central European Free Trade Agreement.

CEFTA is a trade agreement between non-EU countries in Central and South-Eastern Europe.

CEFTA Members: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo (UNMIK).

Former CEFTA Members*: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. *CEFTA membership ended when they joined the EU.

The CEFTA Secretariat is located in Brussels (Belgium).

For more CEFTA information: http://www.cefta2006.com

SPARTECA refers to the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement.

SPARTECA is a nonreciprocal trade agreement in which Australia and New Zealand offer duty-free and unrestricted access for specified products originating from the developing island member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum. Signed in 1981 and subject to Rules of Origin regulations, the agreement was designed to address the unequal trade relationships between the two groups. The textiles, clothing and footwear (TCF) industry has been a major beneficiary of SPARTECA through the preferential access to Australian and New Zealand markets.

SPARTECA Members: Cook Island, Australia, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Kiribati, and Niue.

International Investment Arbitration

ICSID is the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

TIFA refers to the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. A TIFA is a trade pact typically deployed as a precursor arrangment for expanding trade relations and resolving any remaining issues prior to executing a formal Free Trade Agreement.

USTR refers to the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

ITC refers to the International Trade Centre, a joint agency of the World Trade Organization and UNCTAD.

The following statement about the ITC is taken verbatim from its website, and reflects the ITC's official view of its own functions:

"ITC enables small business export success in developing countries by providing, with partners, trade development solutions to the private sector, trade support institutions and policy-makers."

ITC works in six areas:

  • Product and market development
  • Development of trade support services
  • Trade information
  • Human resource development
  • International purchasing and supply management
  • Needs assessment, programme design for trade promotion
ITC’s technical assistance concentrates on the three issues for which it believes the need for national capacity-building is most critical: helping businesses understand WTO rules; strengthening enterprise competitiveness; and developing new trade promotion strategies.

NAFTA is the North American Free Trade Agreement.

CISFTA refers to the Commonwealth of Indepedent States Free Trade Area. In 1994, the CIS countries agreed to create a free trade area, but the agreements were never signed, so in 2009 a new agreement was achieved to create an FTA by the end of 2010 or the beginning of 2011.

The Commonwealth of Indepedent States (CIS) is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union.

The CIS is a very loose association of states and�is not�comparable to a federation, confederation or supra-national organisation such as the old European Community. CIS is more similar to the Commonwealth of Nations. The CIS has few supranational powers, its capacities are�largely symbolic, e.g. coordinating powers in the realm of trade, finance, lawmaking, and security.�CIS also promoteS cooperation on democratization and cross-border crime prevention. As a regional organization, CIS participates in UN peacekeeping forces. Some CIS members have established the Eurasian Economic Community with the aim of creating a full-fledged common market.

CIS Members: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan. *Ukraine is a CIS participant.����

ITU refers to the International Telecommunications Union.

ITLOS refers to the Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

GAFTA refers to both the Grain and Free Trade Association and the Greater Arab Free Trade Area.

ICC refers to the International Chamber of Commerce.

PCA refers to the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

ICJ refers to the International Court of Justice.

MAI refers to the Multilateral Agreement on Investment.

ECCAS refers to the Economic Community of Central African States.

SADC refers to the Southern African Development Community.

ICCA refers to the International Council for Commercial Arbitration.

SIAC refers to the Singapore International Arbitration Centre.

AAA refers to the American Arbitration Association and the ICDR refers to the International Centre for Dispute Resolution, a branch of the AAA.

ASA refers to the Swiss Arbitration Association.

SCC refers to the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce.

LCIA refers to the London Court of International Arbitration.

DIAC refers to the Dubai International Arbitration Centre.

CIETEC refers to the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission.

HKIAC refers to the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre.

DIS refers to the German Institution of Arbitration.

ICAC refers to the International Commercial Arbitration Court at the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

ACICA refers to the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration.

KCAB refers to the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board.

VIAC refers to the Vienna International Arbitration Centre.

SAKIG refers to the Court of Arbitration at the Polish Chamber of Commerce in Warsaw.

NAI refers to the Netherlands Arbitration Insitute.

CAM refers to the Milan Arbitration Chamber.

MNAC refers to the Mongolian National Arbitration Court.

JCAA refers to the Japan Commercial Arbitration Association.

The JCAA has operated since 1953 as a non-profit organization promoting the resolution of international and domestic commercial disputes via alternative dispute resolution. The JCAA is the only permanent commercial arbitral institution in Japan.

The Japanese Arbitration Law (Arbitration Law No.138 of 2003) is modeled on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration.

Foreign lawyers practicing outside of Japan and registered foreign attorneys in Japan (gaikokuho-jimu-bengoshi) may represent parties in international arbitration proceedings in Japan under the Special Measures Law Concerning the Handling of Legal Matters by Foreign Lawyers (Foreign Lawyer's Act).

The JCAA also issues and guarantees ATA Carnets under the ATA Convention covering the temporary admission of goods. These forms act as official international customs clearance documents, effectively providing a passport for goods (such as samples for a trade show) and covers over 60 countries worldwide.

The JCAA has offices in Tokyo and Osaka.

For more information see www.jcaa.or.jp 


CICA refers to the Court of International Commercial Arbitration attached to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania.

EPA refers to an Economic Partnership Agreement, otherwise known as a preferred trade arrangment between countries.

Economic Partnership Agreements are a scheme to create a free trade area (FTA) between the European Commission of the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) countries.

International Arbitration

EAS refers to the East Asia Summit, an annual pan-Asian forum.

EAS participants include all 10 ASEAN members plus China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand. At the October 2010 EAS, Russia and the United States were both formally invited to participate as full members, and each country will be participating at the head of state level in 2011.

An unprecedented method of arbitration, whereby a private person (foreign investor) can directly initiate arbitration against a State. Of course there are jurisdictional prerequisites that a foreign investor must qualify to be successful, namely nationality, having a qualified investment, etc.   

A BIT is a Bilateral Investment Treaty, a FIPA is a Foreign Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement.

A BIT & FIPA are virtually identical kinds of international legal instruments. The common terminalogy for such is BIT, Canada chooses to call their BITs FIPAs.

BITs have become the most signaificant feature of investment arbitration providing foriegn investors the means with which to directly initiate arbitration against the relevant state.

Some beleive that BITs have accomplished, to some extent, what states could not do multilaterally after the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) failed to pass the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI).

The widely adopted ICSID Convention (also known as the Washington Convention) provides a procedural and institutional framework for investment arbitrations. It creates a self-standing system detached from national courts and facilitating enforcment in member States. ICSDI jurisdiction is restricted by its scope and the separate need for consent, and thus investment arbitration are often also brought under other rules, such as the UNCITRAL Rules.

Investment arbitration permits parties to choose the law applicable to their dispute. If the parties fail to do som the default rule under the ICSDI Convention provides for both, domestic law of the host state and international law to be applied, although their exact  relationship has not always been settled. In a BIT arbitration the applicable law is the BIT itself, supplemented by general rules of international law.

In the name of efficiency, BIT Tribunals often bifurcate proceedings into separate phases for (i) jurisdiction & admissability; and (ii) merits.

Investment Tribunals are often requested to order interim measures and have a power to do so under the ICSID system as well as the UNCITRAL Rules. Interim measures may vary greatly, but typically include anti-suit injunctions, maintenance of the status qou, preservation of evidence and security for costs.  The most commonly used criteria for evaluating whether to grant interim measures are prima facie jurisdiction, prescence of right to be preserved, urgency and necessity.  

Some commentators believe that confidentiality is often inappropriate in investment arbitrations which engage questions of public policy. The ICSDI system strives to promote transparency, imposing a duty of confidentiality only on the Tribunal. Parties may nevertheless agree on confidentiality,, or the Tribunal may make a confidentiality order with ints broad procedural powers. Written amicus curiae submissions have recently become more common in investment arbitration and Tribunals have often accepted them.  

There are 3 different sources of State consent in investment arbitration:

  1. Contract (State A enters into a Contract with Person B to arbitrate any investment disputes that may arise between the parties);
  2. Investment Treaty (e.g. Bilateral Investment Treaty, Foreign Investment Promotion & Protection Agreements, Energy Charter Treaty, North American Free Trade Agreement Chapter 11, etc.)
  3. National Law of State (State A passes a national law that says that State A consents to arbitrate any dispute concerning X with foreign investors)
Once a State consents to investment arbitration, that State cannot unilaterally withdraw its consent.  

A State generally cannot rely on its own internal law to argue that consent was not properly afforded. 

A constituent subdivision or agency of a State can also consent to ICSID arbitration subject to certain conditions.  

To simplify, ratione temporis is what hapened when and to whom.

Whether the investment was made before or after the conclusion of the treaty may be relevant depending on its language. More importantly, the time when the acts that the subject of the dispute may be relevant to the determination of jurisdiction where there have been carried out prior to the entry into force of the treaty. The same can be said of the time when the dispute arises.

The concept of nationality of a legal entity is much more complex than the nationality of an individual. Various unsettled issues remain regarding the former, the most salient of which is whether or not ultimate control of a corporation should be taken into account in the absence of a specific provision in a treaty. The varying decisions on this point create much uncertainty as to the access to treaty protection. However, the following guiding principles may be drawn from the analysis above. First, the criteria governing jurisdiction differ depending on whether a natural person or a legal entity is concerned. Second, an individual with dual-nationality at the critical date will be precluded from relying on a BIT where one of the nationalities is that of the host State, if he is pursuing arbitration under ICSID. Third, where a BIT grants jurisdiction on the basis solely on the place of incorporation, Tribunals are likely to interpret such provisions narrowly, without investigating further e.g. the source of funds for the investment or whetherthe corproation is a mere shell. Fourth, where an investment agreement contains a provision that a locally incorporated company, subject to foreign control, can be considered a foreign investor, Tribunals will look at de facto control, not only the extent of the shareholding and Tribunals will generally not seek to establish which entity has ultimate control in a situation involving a chain of companies i.e. they will generally not pierce the corporate veil of the de facto controllinmg company. Fifth, generally, a company claiming treaty protection should have the same nationality at the date of injury and at the date of the claim; an objection on the basis of a change in nationality after such time is likely to fail.

The definition of "investment" remains one of the most controversial issues in investment law and arbitration. The ICSID Convention offers no definition even if successive Tribunals have tried to give it some content. Many BITs do on the other hand contain a definition of "investment" that is often very broad and general. Different approaches have been adopted by ICSID Tribunals in order to determine whether the transaction they have before them is an "investment" in relation to which they would have jurisdiction. Some Tribunals have adopted the Salini Test and its so-called objective criteria and have applied them with varying degrees of strictness. Others preferred to give priority to the consent of the parties as expressed in the relevant investment agreement. Tribunals have followed the broad wording contained in investment treaties.

A cooling off period is a BIT provisions that imposes a time for the disputing parties to negotiate, before arbitration can be initiated.

A Fork-in-the-road clause forces a claimant to choose between domestic and international proceedings.

Parallel proceedings give rise to several concerns, such as res judicata (binding effect of a decision on the parties) and consolidation and related techniques.

Denial of Benefits clauses enable a respondent State to refrain from extending the benefits of an investment treaty to a "mailbox company" that has no business activities in its State of incorporation and is owned or controlled by nationals of other States. However, they have not been successfully applied in practice so far.

Both the ICSID Convention and the UNCITRAL Rules make it theoretically possible for States to include counterclaims into investor-State arbitral proceedings, though the specific wording of the BIT will be very important for the purpose of analysing whether there is consent for the counterclaim to be introduced.

Yes. While the vast majority of modern investment arbitrations arise from alleged breaches by a host State of the substantive protections guarenteed by bilateral or multilateral investment treaties, the provisions of a contract between an investor and a host State can also be the source of substantive protections. The ability of a host State  will depend on whether an investment Tribunal has jurisdiction to hear such claims, for example through an arbitration clause in the contract itself.

Customary international law and investment treaties recognise the sovereign right of a host State to expropriate the property of foreign investors, however they limit host States' power to do so. In order to be legal, an expropriation (1) must have a public purpose, (2) must not be discriminatory or arbitrary, (3) must be conducted in accordance with due process and (4) must be accompanied by adequate compensation. Expropriation may be either direct or indirect. Direct expropriation occurs where the host State formally takes title of the expropriated asset, while indirect expropriation accurs where there is a substantial and permanent or prolonged interference with the investment which deprives the investor of all or most of its benefits.

A majority of successful investment claims are based on a breach of the FET standard. Broadly defined, the FET standard requires States to maintain stable and predictable regulatory framework consitent with reasonable investor expectations. However, the FET is a highly flexible standard which may not neccessarily be the same in all the treaties in which it appears. Key aspects of the FET standard developed in arbitral jurisprudence are the protection of legitimate expectations of investors, the requirements of transparency and stability, the duty not to deny justice, and the freedom from coercion and harassment.

The content of the FPS standard has two main facets. The first is the traditional understanding of the standard as a protection from physcial violence against the assets and individuals connected with an investment. Such violence may be caused by the host State itself or by third parties, although a host State only has an obligation of due diligence, not a strict obligation, to prevent violence by third parties. The second facet goes beyond the scope of physical protection to include legal security. However, this facet is not conssitently accepted by the arbitral jurisprudence, in particular because, according to some Tribunals, it would overlap with the FET standard.

An MFN Clausein a BIT grants investors from the beneficiary State treatment by the host State which is no less favourable than that which it accords to investors from third States. Therefore, any benfit granted by a host State to investors from a third State will automatically be extended to investors of States with which the host State has cncluded a BIT with an MFN clause. It is well established in the arbitral jurisprudence that MFN clauses can be used by investors to invoke more favourable substantive protections contained in other BITs concluded by the host State. The use of MFN clauses to invoke more favourable dispute settlement provisions in third treaties has however proved to be more controversial, and the arbitral jurisprudence on this question is inconsistent.

An umbrella clause obliges a host State to observe obligation or commitments it has undertaken towards investments. Thus, such obligations are "elevated" to the international sphere, and their breach becomes a breach of the BIT. The wording of umbrella clauses however varies significantly, and different Tribunals have taken different views on their effect. It is however now generally accepted in the arbitral jurisprudence that umbrella clauses elevate contractual obligation undertaken by the host State towards an investor would constitute a treaty breach.

The defence of abuse of rights has been invoked in several investment arbitrations in two forms. the first, abuse of the quality of "investor", has been argued by host States in cases in which an investor organises or reorganises its business in order to avail itself of the protection of a BIT. Tribunals have notably accepted the defence where the sole purpose of a transaction was to gain access to investment arbitration under a particular BIT. The second, abuse of arbitral process, has been raised, albeit unsuccessfully, by host State in cases of multiplication of proceedings or where there is reason to believe that the investor only commenced arbitration to force the State to take certain measures.

The defence of necessity is a circumstance precluding wrongfulness under customary international law. It can be invoked in exceptional cases in which a State is forced to breach an international obligation in order to protect an essential interest. In order to successfully invoke the defence of necessity, however, several conditions must be met. In particular, an act of necessity must be guided by the intention of the host State to (1) safeguard an essntial interst against (2) grave and imminent peril, and (3) the State must not have any other options available. Moreover, the neccessity defence should be rejected if reliance on it is excluded by the international obligation breached; or the State contributed to the creation of the state of necessity.

The defence of international public policy has been invoked by respondent States in investment arbitrations. Transnational public policy consists of supranational principles, universal standards and accepted norms of conduct which are to be applied in all fora. In order to form part of transnational public policy, a certain rule needs to be accepted by the international public policies of most countries. As a result, very few rules, standards or principles are recognised as forming part of transnational public policy. Rules which are usually mentioned as part of transnational public policy include the prohibitions of slavery, racial discrimination, and rug trafficking, as well as corruption. The prohibition of corruption has been the most frequent application of transnational public policy in investment arbitration.

One of the essential conditions for the responsiblity of a State towards an investor is that the acts or omissions in question are attributable to the State under international law. The basic rule of attribution under customary international law is that a State is responsible for the conduct of its organs. The definition of a State organ is very broad and includes persons or entities at any level of hierarchy exercising whatever function, be it legislative, executive or judicial. The conduct of private persons or entities will not normally be attributable to the State. However, a State may also be responsible for the acts ro omissions of entities or individuals which are not State organs in certain circumstances, namely where such entities or individuals are exercising elements of governmental authority or acting under the direction and control of State.

The three principal categories of remedies that are available in investment arbitration are: restitution, compensation, and satisfaction. The three forms of reparation may be ordered singly, or in combination with each other. Restitution is the primary remedy under the law of State responsbility for an internationally wrongful act committed by a State, but is rarely requested in investment treaty arbitrations. Compensation is the most commonly sought and awarded remedy in international practice. Compensation or damages will be awarded by an arbitral Tribunal where they correspond to the financially assessable damage suffered by the injured party. Satisfaction, which is not a common remedy in investment treaty arbitration, is a remedy for injuries which are not financially assessable. It can take a number of forms, such as declaratory or injunctive relief.  

Annulment does not modify the award but removes it. Annulment is possible only upon the request of a party. Only awards or parts of awards are subject to annulment. Awards are not subject to substantive review and an allegation of a mere error of fact or of law will be of no avail. The legal framework in respect of annulment proceedings varies greatly in function of whether an international investment arbitration is conducted under the ICSID Convention or not:

  • Under the ICSID Convention, a request for annulment is generally subject to a time liimit of 120 days. Corruption has special time limits. Annulment is possible only on the basis of a limited number of serious grounds: improper constitution of the Tribunal; Manifest excess of powers; Corruption of Arbitrator; Serious departure from a fundamental rule of procedure; and Failure to state reasons.
  • Non-ICSID investment treaty awards will be treated in the same way as an award issued in the context of an international commercial arbitration. Domestic arbitration law will provide the grounds on which annulment can be sought and the procedure, which is conducted before the competent domestic courts of the seat of arbitration. Domestic arbitration laws vary greatly in the way they deal with challenges of arbitral awards. However, the grounds for annulment of an award provided for in domestic arbitration laws are often based on those set out in the UNCITRAL Model Lw: Non-existent or invalid arbitration agreement; Denial of opportunity to present case; Failure of the Tribunal to comply with procedures agreed by the parties or prescribed by the law of the arbitral seat; Composition of arbitral Tribunal; Excess of powers; Arbitrator's lack of indepdence or impartiality; Non-Arbitrability of parties's claims; Public Policy; Fraud.  
Enforcement, both of ICSID (to some extent) and non-ICSID awards, has its limit in State immunity. An award against a host State need not be enforced if this would be in violation of the rules on State immunity as applied in the enforcing State, although a State that successfully relies on its law concerning State immunity from execution will still be in breach of its obligation under the ICSID Convention. The most important criterion for State immunity from execution is the nature of the assets that are to be the object of enforcement. Execution is permitted against commercial property belonging to the State, but not against property serving official or governmental purposes. There are also particular types of immunities granted certain types of property and not to the State as such. These include diplomatic property, military property, central bank property and cultural heritage. A waiver of immunity can be agreed upon by the parties but certain forms of waiver of immunity may be unenforceable even if agreed upon by the parties.

ICSID awards are final and binding. All State parties to the ICSID Convention are under an obligation to recognize and enforce ICSID awards. Awards are not subject to any review outside the ICSID Convention's system including domestic courts or the International Court of Justice. Recognition is the official confirmation that the award is authentic. Unlike the obligation to recognize an an award, the obligation to enforce is limited to the pecuniary obligations imposed by the award. The procedure for recognition and enforcement is governed by Article 54(2) and (3) of the ICSID Convention. Specific difficulties arise when the prevailing investor attempts to enforce the ICSID award against a constituent subdivision or agency of the State.

Non-ICSID  investment treaty awards, including UNCITRAL awards rely on the same legal framework as international commercial arbitration awards for their recognition and enforcement. Almost all domestic legal frameworks on recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards are governed by the New York Convention. The grounds on which recognition and enforcement of an award can be refused are provided for in Article V(1) of the New York Convention: (a) the invalidity of the arbitration agreement; (b) violation of due process; (c) the arbitrator over stepping their authority; (d) irregularity in the composition of the arbitral Tribunal or the arbitral procedure; (e) award not binding or set aside and Article V(2): (a) the non-arbitrability of the subject matter of the award; and (b) the violation of public policy.


OCAC refers to The Organization of Central Asian Cooperation (also known as the Central Asian Cooperation Organization, CACO).

OCAC was an international organization, composed of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Russia. Georgia, Turkey and Ukraine had observer status.

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan formed OCAC in 1991 as the Central Asian Commonwealth (CAC). CAC continued in 1994 as the Central Asian Economic Union (CAEU), in which Tajikistan and Turkmenistan did not participate. In 1998, CAC became the Central Asian Economic Cooperation (CAEC), which marked the return of Tajikistan.

On 28 February 2002, it was renamed OCAC. Russia joined on 28 May 2004. On 7 September 2005, at the St. Petersburg Summit of the Central Asian Cooperation Organization, it was agreed to merge CACO into EurAsEC.

CAEU refers to the Council of Arab Economic Unity was established by Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen on 3 June 1957. CAEU became effective 30 May 1964, with the ultimate goal of achieving complete economic unity among its member states.

CAEU is headquartered in Cairo (Egypt).

For more CARU information: caeu.org.eg

GAFTA refers to the Greater Arab Free Trade Area, a pan-Arab free trade area formed in 1997.

GAFTA was founded by 14 countries (Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates).

The establishment of GAFTA followed the adoption of the Agreement to Facilitate and Develop Trade Among Arab Countries (1981) by the Arab League's Economic and Social Council (ESC) and the approval by 17 Arab League member-states at a summit in Amman (Jordan), of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area Agreement (1997). In 2009, Algeria joined GAFTA as the eighteenth member-state. GAFTA is supervised and run by the ESC.

The Pacific Islands Forum is an inter-governmental organization that aims to enhance cooperation between the independent countries of the Pacific Ocean. It was founded in 1971 as the South Pacific Forum. In 2000, the name was changed; Pacific Islands Forum is more inclusive of the Forum's Oceania-spanning membership of both north and south Pacific island countries and Australia. It is an official observer at the United Nations.

The Pacific Islands Forum is located in Suva, Fiji.

For more Pacific Islands Forum information: www.forumsec.org

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is an intergovernmental organization, composed of the four Melanesian states of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu as well as the FLNKS of New Caledonia. It was founded as a political gathering in 1983. On 23 March 2007, members signed the Agreement Establishing the Melanesian Spearhead Group, formalizing the group under international law.

The MSG Secretariat is located in Port Villa, Vanuatu.

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