Enhancing transparency under international investment treaties

  • Joint media release with:
  • The Hon Christian Porter MP, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations
19 September 2020

The Morrison Government has reinforced its commitment to improving the global investment environment with the ratification of the United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration also known as the Mauritius Convention.

The Convention will apply greater transparency to investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) proceedings commenced under international treaties concluded prior to 1 April 2014, aligning them with transparency measures in Australia's more recent free trade agreements.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said the ratification was an important step in further supporting global investment transparency and will provide a consistent framework to Australia's international investment treaties.

“The transparency requirements in the Convention will improve public visibility and understanding of ISDS proceedings, and provide avenues for Australia and Australian stakeholders to participate in relevant cases of public interest,” Attorney-General Porter said.

“The Convention will also enhance confidence in ISDS mechanisms among investors and governments regarding Australia's rights and obligations under international investment treaties.”

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said the Convention would bring a greater level of transparency to international investment, providing more certainty for investors and governments.

“While ISDS provides important protections for Australian investors overseas and Australian jobs, we also recognise the need to evolve ISDS mechanisms to reflect modern standards,” Minister Birmingham said.

“Our more recent free trade agreements, including with Peru, Indonesia and Hong Kong contain these modern ISDS provisions which have increased procedural and substantive safeguards and provide public policy protections such as on health and the environment.

“Ratifying the Convention demonstrates Australia's support for transparency to global investment and paves the way for other countries, including in the Asia-Pacific region, to sign up.”

Australia continues efforts to pursue broader ISDS reforms through the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law.

The Convention will enter into force for Australia on 17 March 2021, for more information visit https://www.dfat.gov.au/news/news/Pages/australia-signs-the-mauritius-convention-on-transparency.

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