U.S. Chamber Welcomes Conclusion to Review of Model Investment Treaty | U.S. Chamber of Commerce

U.S. Chamber Welcomes Conclusion to Review of Model Investment Treaty

Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 8:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President for International Affairs Myron Brilliant issued the following statement after the Obama Administration announced that it had concluded its three-year review of the U.S. model bilateral investment treaty:

“The U.S. Chamber applauds the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the State Department for concluding their review of the model text used to negotiate bilateral investment treaties (BITs).  We now urge the administration to waste no time in launching a robust negotiating agenda to open foreign markets to U.S. investors and guarantee them fair treatment.

“International investment already supports millions of American jobs and is vital to the competitiveness of U.S. companies.  BITs ensure fair treatment for U.S. investors, boost American exports, safeguard U.S. intellectual property, and strengthen the rule of law in global markets.

“However, the U.S. has just 41 BITs in force today while countries such as Germany and China each have more than 100.  U.S. companies urgently need new agreements to allow them to succeed in the global economy.

“The revised text, which reflects extensive input provided by the Chamber, preserves longstanding investment protections, a strong investor-State dispute settlement mechanism, and national treatment and most-favored nation treatment, both prior to investment and after the investment is made, based on a negative list approach.  These long-standing core elements of the model should be deemed preconditions by the U.S. government for entry into investment negotiations with any foreign government.

“It also introduces new provisions to combat forced localization, coerced technology transfer, non-transparent standard-setting processes, and certain practices of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), the inclusion of which was championed by the Chamber.

“We note with concern, however, the addition of questionable new provisions related to labor and environment.  We will be monitoring whether their inclusion makes it more difficult to negotiate protections for U.S. investors abroad in the future.

“Going forward, we encourage the administration to weigh how these treaties can better address the growing role of SOEs in the global economy.  With support from business and labor, the administration has tabled new text in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations to ensure that SOEs compete on the same terms as their private counterparts.  Those U.S. proposals should inform future BITs to ensure U.S. companies are not disadvantaged when competing with state-owned and state-supported firms.

“Negotiating and finalizing new investment agreements should be a top international economic priority for the administration.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.