International Investment Agreements

International Investment Agreements (IIAs) constitute another layer of the legal protection regime for investments. Investment treaties protect foreign investors and grant the right to settle disputes with state authorities before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICISD) or other dispute resolution mechanisms as specified in the relevant treaty. Other investment agreements include:

  • ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA)
  • Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs)
  • Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)

The main protection provisions contained in investment agreements include:

  • Standards of treatment, including National Treatment and Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment
  • Protection against expropriation
  • Access to Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) through international arbitration

ASEAN countries have concluded IIAs at a rapid rate over the past decade, in order to increase the protection and promotion of investment. This has created overlaps between numerous legal frameworks, including multilateral agreements within the ASEAN region; domestic legislation adds an additional layer of regulation and protection. ASEAN Member States have signed 26 intra-ASEAN BITs (as of July 2015), making the overall regulatory landscape for investment protection in the region rather complex.