BILATERAL INVESTMENT TREATIES – A SHIELD OR A SWORD?

By Jonathan Lang Friday, November 08, 2013
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Why is the South African government canceling bilateral investment treaties (BITs) with its most important foreign investor countries? It was recently announced that South Africa had terminated Promotion and Protection of Investment treaty with Switzerland. South Africa has also recently terminated its BITs with the Netherlands, Spain, Luxembourg and Belgium and Germany, and it appears that other cancellations are in the pipeline. In the current economic climate, with questions being asked by foreign investors about labour relations, the implementation of the new order mining rights regime and governmental policy drift generally in South Africa, is this the time to be canceling treaties which guarantee foreign investors in South Africa's economy certain protections and assurances?

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