The Need for an International Investment Consensus-Building Process

Sauvant, Karl P.; Ortino, Federico

Discussions on a multilateral investment framework have recently seen a revival, as the International Chamber of Commerce, the World Economic Forum and various authors have called for negotiations on this subject. A growing number of countries have been reviewing and adapting their international investment policies. This reflects dissatisfaction with the current international investment law regime, and a desire to improve it.

Critical issues affecting the regime (consisting of over 3,000 international investment agreements) revolve around, for example, identifying the overall purpose of the regime, defining the notion of foreign "investment" and "investor," giving content to open-ended investment protection standards, strengthening the legitimacy of the investor-State dispute-settlement system, and addressing the lack of a strong and coordinated institutional structure. Developments in treaty and arbitral practice may well address some of these issues and lead to the improvement of the regime.

It is not clear, however, how rapidly and to what extent these challenges will be addressed in the normal course of events. Allowing the regime to mature is time consuming. Moreover, there are widely diverging views among stakeholders about the extent to which changes are needed, what they should be and how they should be brought about. This is a complex situation that calls for a better understanding of the issues and bridge-building between various interested parties.


  • thumnail for No_101_-_Sauvant_and_Ortino_-_FINAL.pdf No_101_-_Sauvant_and_Ortino_-_FINAL.pdf application/pdf 79 KB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment
Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment
Columbia FDI Perspectives, 101
Published Here
September 23, 2013

Related Items


A Chinese version of this paper is available at