GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
ISDS provisions - do they belong in a Gulf Trade Agreement?
Paper Proposal Text :
The question of whether or not Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions belong in a Gulf Trade Agreement is a very topical and politically charged issue. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has extended an invitation to bolster its six country strong Agreement to both Morocco and Jordan. These would-be 'initiates' are already prolific signatories to bilateral investment related agreement in a Middle Eastern and North African context and the Council stands to gain, from a commercial perspective, by incorporating these two jurisdictions into the union. However, increased trade in external jurisdictions has led to a rising trend Investor-State Disputes. ISDS provisions have been proffered as a way forward in terms of mitigating the risk of local investors conducting business operations overseas and improving the certainty of outcomes, through an established avenue for recourse should issues arise. Whilst these are just some of the many benefits of ISDS provisions, there are significant limitations to the mechanism which may have far reaching implications for both parties to such a dispute, and beyond. ISDS provisions are essentially instruments used by corporations or the like, to address a macro level risk. The purpose of this paper is to consider whether or not an ISDS provision is the appropriate tool to employ in order to manage legal and commercial risk at a micro, or company, level in the context of Morocco and Jordan, two highly significant GCC 'invitees'.