USCIB hosted a briefing with the U.S. negotiating team on Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) Reform at the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) on December 16. UNCITRAL’s Working Group III focuses on the issue at UNCITRAL and held its thirty-ninth session in early October. Members had the opportunity to discuss current developments with Karin Kizer, attorney-advisor in the Office of Private International Law in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the Department of State, and lead negotiator on ISDS Reform at UNCITRAL. She was also joined by Khalil Gharbieh, director for Investment at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), as well as colleagues from the State Department.
“Investment protections are more important than ever, with global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) having dropped dramatically due to the current crisis,” said USCIB Senior Director for Trade, Investment and Financial Servcies Eva Hampl. “Increasing investment flows should be a priority for countries as they look to recover from the pandemic. Mechanisms like ISDS are critical in ensuring that investors have adequate recourse as they invest in foreign markets, and are a factor as decisions are made where to invest.”
According to Hampl, the discussions at UNCITRAL are driven by the European Union’s proposal for a multilateral investment court, a proposal that reared its head during the negotiations of a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). USCIB, having official observer status at UNCITRAL, has been an active participant in the meetings of the working group, most recently at the meetings in October.
Subsequent to the meetings, USCIB together with the Corporate Counsel International Arbitration Group (CCIAG) submitted comments on Appointment of Arbitrators, Appellate Mechanism, and Enforcement.
The next session is scheduled to take place February 8-12, 2021 in Vienna.