The PluriCourts Centre of Excellence at the University of Oslo is organizing a conference titled ‘Adjudicating international trade and investment disputes: between interaction and isolation.’ The conference will be hosted at the Faculty of Law of the University of Oslo 25-26 August 2016. Abstracts are due March 1, 2016.
The conference aims to focus on the relationship, interactions and comparisons between the international trade and investment regimes in the context of adjudication of disputes. The conference will welcome research across the disciplines of law, political science, and philosophy relating to three themes: the new mega-regionals, comparisons and practices, and cross-fertilization and learning. Historically, the global regulation of international trade and investment relations have been closely interrelated; but in the post-war period, international trade law and international investment law developed on largely divergent paths. While international trade regulation has culminated in a multilateral regime with a permanent dispute settlement mechanism, the international regulation of foreign direct investment is primarily governed by 3500 essentially bilateral treaty relationships calling for ad hoc investor – state arbitration potentially to be hosted by a variety of international institutions. Despite these seemingly distinct structures, there is a recent trend that some say signal a move towards regime convergence: most clearly seen in the rise of mega-regional free trade agreements (FTAs) with investment chapters.
This potential convergence may be deceiving, however. The investment chapters of FTAs remain separate from the rest of the agreements and provide for distinct rules and procedures on dispute settlement. Moreover, issues of overlap between trade chapters and investment chapters have not been resolved, which means that the same case could possibly be raised simultaneously in two separate disputes under the same FTA. Legal disputes based on investment chapters in FTAs to date (ie under the NAFTA and DR-CAFTA) appear to interpret the investment protection chapters as standalone agreements with little or no reference to other sections of the FTAs. Despite the limitations to integration that this new generation of trade and investment agreements may represent, there are other areas of interaction between the trade and investment regimes that could provide better evidence of a gradual move towards cohesion. This conference aims to look at the development of the new mega-regionals, but also the ways (or lack thereof) that the trade and investment regimes share practices and cross-fertilize.
For more information and submission procedures, see: Call for Papers – Trade Investment Conference [pdf]