Volume 33 (2016) / Issue 5
In the last decade, international investment law has been on a trajectory of rapid evolution with reform high on agenda priorities. Reform requires a reconciliation of competing interests, which is generally so difficult to achieve that it is often unclear whether an option constitutes ‘reform’ or unwanted change. Two specific treaty provisions, the most-favoured-nation (MFN) treatment and survival clauses, can interfere with the reform process and become an impediment to changing the rules of the game. This is particularly true when political will is present. The MFN treatment, a guarantee of non-discrimination present in the quasi-totality of investment treaties, can have far-reaching ramifications for newly negotiated provisions, especially where international investment agreements confer pre-establishment rights and a clause expressly covers ‘all matters’ within a treaty. Survival clauses, a type of provision that extends the validity of an investment agreement beyond its termination, can delay the onset of the new options for an average of between five and twenty years after expiry of the treaty’s minimum period of application. This article explores these two types of clauses and discusses their potential impact on the reform of international investment law.
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