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Current Developments in U.S. Investment Policy

President Obama signed Proclamation 8788 on March 26, suspending Argentina’s status as a GSP beneficiary country under the duty-free program “because it has not acted in good faith in enforcing arbitral awards in favor of United States citizens or a corporation, partnership, or association that is 50 percent or more beneficially owned by United States citizens.” The GSP action on Argentina, which became effective on May 29, 2012, follows an interagency review of two separate petitions submitted by U.S. companies. See WTR Vol.28 No.11 for more details on this development.

 

:: Investment Provisions of Trade Agreements :: U.S. Investment Laws :: Bilateral Investment Treaties

The principal investment-related agreements in WTO are the General Agreement on Trade in Services (with respect to Mode 3, Commercial Presence) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures.

There is much controversy over the investor-protection provisions, especially with respect fo investor-state disputes, in Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Critics see these rules as providing greater rights to foreign versus domestic investors, and also favoring corporate over environmental interests.

The Exon-Florio Amendment provides for a review of proposed foreign investments in security-related industries.

See also a related measure prohibiting investment in U.S. defense contractors by foreign governments.

The two main options for negotiating agreements on investment are to incorporate such provisions in a trade agreement or to negotiate a separate bilateral investment treaty (BIT).

For the U.S. BITs in force click here.

See the U.S. negotiating objectives on investment in the Trade Act of 2002.