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International investment arbitration across Asia

3 March 2017
Sydney Law Schools co-hosts Asia-Pacific treaty symposium

Prominent international investment law experts from Southeast Asia, North Asia, India and Oceania recently gathered together at Sydney Law School for a symposium on Asian investment treaties.

The 23rd ASEAN-EU Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) Meeting convenes in Jakarta, February 2017

The 23rd ASEAN-EU Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) Meeting convenes in Jakarta, February 2017

Co-hosted by the Sydney Centre for International Law and the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law, International Investment Arbitration Across Asia explored the historical trajectory of international investment treaties and dispute resolution across Asia.

Co-sponsored by the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre and Herbert Smith Freehills, discussions ranged from the ASEAN(+) treaties to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, for which President Trump has withdrawn signature by his predecessor and thereby opened up space for new directions in Asia-Pacific treaty-making.

Speakers included Professor Julien Chaisse from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Professor Diane Desierto from the University of Hawai'i, Associate Professor Tomoko Ishikawa from Nagoya University and Dr Lauge Poulsen from University College London. Discussants included Chris Thomas QC from the National University of Singapore and newly-elected ILC member Professor August Reinisch from the University of Vienna.

President Trump announced that the US was pulling out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) in January 2017

President Trump announced that the US was pulling out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) in January 2017

Professor Luke Nottage co-presented the opening address, outlining the proliferation of cross-border FDI, treaties and (rather belatedly) an increase in investment arbitration claims in the Asian region.Speakers included Professor Julien Chaisse from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Professor Diane Desierto from the University of Hawai'i, Associate Professor Tomoko Ishikawafrom Nagoya University and Dr Lauge Poulsen from University College London. Discussants included Chris Thomas QC from the National University of Singapore and newly-elected ILC member Professor August Reinisch from the University of Vienna.

“The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) brings together over 600 million people in one of the world’s largest and fastest growing economic regions,” he said.

“Its ten member states have individually concluded many standalone bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and a growing number of bilateral and regional free trade agreements (FTAs), supplemented by intra-ASEAN and ‘ASEAN+’ agreements. These aim to facilitate and protect burgeoning FDI flows, including large outflows recently from several member states.”

The symposium is one outcome from a major cross-institutional and interdisciplinary research project into international investment dispute management funded by the Australian Research Council since 2014. Professors Chaise and Nottage plan to co-edit a book including the main papers plus those from an earlier conference comparing investment arbitration in ASEAN member states, co-organised with partner Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok last July.

For more information on the symposium, read Ana Ubilava, current PhD in Law student's engaging summary on the Klumer Arbitration Blog.