Economic Integration via Novel Investment Agreements: CAI’s Focus on Market Access vis-à-vis the Current Bilateral Investment Treaties Between China and European Union Member States

In: The Journal of World Investment & Trade
G. Matteo Vaccaro-Incisa Carnelutti Law Firm Milan Italy

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Wojciech Giemza European University Institute Florence Italy

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The EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) features limited substantive ‘traditional’ guarantees for foreign investors but contains original liberalization commitments that go beyond the otherwise common ‘admission’ promise, or the less common ‘establishment’ commitment, to regulate ‘market access’ – a unicorn in the field. By focusing on this aspect, the analysis makes reference to a) the current legal and policy framework of both EU and China, b) their respective international investment agreement (IIA) policies, and c) the bilateral investment treaties between China and EU member States. The CAI reveals a sui generis character as, in addition to its novel focus, it consolidates the EU tendency to drawing from other fields, including trade law, environmental law, labour law, sustainable development, and public international law. Considering CAI’s departure from established models, and its specific scope and context, the agreement may not contribute significantly to the development of the design and evolution of substantive rights afforded to foreign investors in IIAs.

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