Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade released a Discussion Paper for public consultations and called for submissions by end-September 2020 about whether and how Australia might review its remaining old BITs. My 15-page submission dated 14 September is expected to appear with others on or via the relevant DFAT webpage and is also available in PDF format here. It addresses DFAT’s “questions for consideration”, especially:
– “In your view, are the existing BITs of benefit to Australian investors operating in these overseas markets? Please comment on their utility.
– In your view, does the existence of a BIT impact on the flow of foreign direct investment and /or portfolio investment? Please comment, if possible, both generally and with reference to specific existing BITs.
– Do you have concerns about Australia’s existing BITs? If so, please comment on any specific provisions of concern.
– If Australia took the approach of re-negotiating at least some of the existing BITs, do you have views on which clauses should be included in a renegotiated agreement?
– In your view, would any concerns you have about any of Australia’s existing BITs warrant termination of one or more BITs? Please comment, as relevant, both generally and with reference to specific existing BITs.
– There are various models and approaches that different countries take in relation to international investment agreements. For instance, some models are concerned with investment facilitation rather than dispute resolution. In your view, is there a particular approach that is suited to meeting the interests of Australian industry and business
– In light of the various policy options available, what approach do you consider should be taken? Please comment, if possible, both generally and with reference to specific existing BITs.”