International Investment Agreements: Flexibility for Development

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UN, 2000 - Business & Economics - 176 pages
This paper reflects discussions which took place during the three expert meetings convened by the Commission on Investment, Technology and Related Financial Issues during 1997-1999. These discussions dealt with existing International Investment Agreements (IIAs) and their development dimensions. The paper examines ways in which IIAs can provide for flexibility with a view towards promoting development, while encouraging foreign direct investment (FDI) and providing stability and predictability in investment relations. The paper first discusses the meaning and purpose of flexibility in the interest of in the context of IIAs. It goes on to look at how existing IIAs have provided flexibility from the perspectives of: the objectives of an agreement; its overall structure and methods of participation; its substantive provisions; its applications. The paper emphasises that IIAs, in common with all international agreements, typically contain obligations that reduce to some extent the autonomy of the participating countries. Such agreements should recognise the economic asymmetries and levels of development between developing and developed countries. The challenge for negotiators of IIAs is to find the proper balance between obligations and flexibility. IIAs should be designed in a way that allows their parties some flexibility in pursuing their development objectives.

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