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  • Author: Gary Hufbauer, Sherry Stephenson
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In Columbia FDI Perspectives, No. 102, Axel Berger claimed that the debate over a multilateral framework for investment is futile. We disagree. Following its achievements at the 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, the World Trade Organization (WTO) should launch negotiations to draft a 21st century Investment Framework Agreement (IFA).
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Joachim Karl
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In his famous book, "The End of History and the Last Man", published in 1992, Francis Fukuyama argued that Western democracy represents the end point of the socio-cultural evolution of humanity and the final form of government.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Anthea Roberts
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: There have been many calls for a rebalancing of investor protection and state sovereignty in the investment treaty system. However, another equally important shift is underway: the recalibration of interpretive authority between treaty parties and arbitral tribunals. In newer-style investment treaties, states are increasingly protecting and enhancing their role in interpreting and applying their treaties.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Barclay E. James, Paul M. Vaaler.
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Business researchers, executives and regulators may assume that state ownership in firms raises risk for private co-investors. After all, private investors are seeking profits while states are seeking welfare. Giving them both equity only confuses the aims of an investment project, complicates the job of investment project managers and raises the overall risk of investment project failure. But these assumptions do not fit the evidence as demonstrated by a well-known risk indicator observable in hundreds of investment projects located in dozens o f countries: in countries where initial investment terms are more vulnerable to renegotiation by host country governments, we found that "minority rules" apply w hereby a non-controlling, but still substantial equity investment by a host country government can play a risk-mitigating role.
  • Topic: Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Foreign Direct Investment, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Ethiopia
  • Author: Gus Van Harten
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Investment treaty arbitration has unfolded rapidly in recent years. Some observations arising from analyses of arbitrator awards are high lighted below. They support broad conclusions that: arbitrators reviewed a wide range of legislative, executive and judicial decisions but typically did not exercise judicial restraint in various ways associated with domestic and international courts; arbitrators typically adopted expansive approaches to their authority and to investor entitlements to compensation, especially where the claimant had the nationality of a major Western capital-exporting state; and decision-making power was highly concentrated amongarbitrators, suggesting a need for closer scrutiny of how the most active individual arbitrators have expanded the meaning of investment treaties and corresponding principles of state liability.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Foreign Direct Investment, Law Enforcement, Law
  • Author: Nikia Clarke
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Energy investments and infrastructure contracts remain prominent in China's Africa engagement. However, investment in manufacturing makes up a significant proportion of Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI). Its characteristics–large numbers of smaller transactions by privately owned small and medium-sized firms–make these flows difficult to assess or control. However, China and African governments have an interest in effectively channeling this type of FDI.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Tadahiro Asami
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC) has accepted the updated OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (Guidelines), adopted on May 25, 2011 after a series of negotiations and consultations among members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), adhering governments, BIAC, the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD, and OECD Watch, an international network of civil society organizations. The Guidelines are the most comprehensive government-endorsed code of responsible business conduct. The Update upheld the voluntary and non-legally binding character of the Guidelines, and while the new text introduces important new elements, the Update is very carefully formulated and its changes are accompanied by extensive conditionalities.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Miguel Pérez Ludeña
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America is a recent phenomenon. Although the China National Petroleum Corporation and other companies have been present in Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela since the early 1990s, large projects have been pursued only since 2006, following an extended period of high commodity prices. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) estimated that there were US$ 15 billion of Chinese FDI inflows into Latin America in 2010, 90% of which were in extractive industries. This further contributed to the already high percentage of Chinese FDI flows to the region that are in natural resources. At a time of high economic growth fueled by commodity exports and strong currency appreciation (particularly in Brazil), FDI into extractive industries strengthens the region's specialization in primary products at the expense of manufacturing and other activities.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Natural Resources, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Brazil, Latin America, Peru
  • Author: Karl P. Sauvant, Chen Zhao, Xiaoying Huo
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Among developing countries, China attracts most foreign direct investment (FDI). Where is this investment located within China, what explains its distribution and what are policy implications? We used UNCTAD's FDI Performance Index to answer the first question. Although developed for countries , it can be applied to sub-national units. It uses provincial GDP to ascertain whether a given territorial unit has received FDI inflows as expected from its economic size. Standardizing the data accordingly reveals three clusters of provinces for 2007-2010 (table 1, figure 1 below): The first cluster encompasses virtually all coastal provinces: they have an index value above 1, i.e. perform better than their economic size would lead one to expect. They account for 9 of the top 11 performers of Mainland China's 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions (“provinces”). The provinces in the middle cluster underperform (index value of 1-0.5). They include 5 central provinces, but also 3 western and 2 coastal provinces. The provinces in the bottom cluster underperform significantly (index value below 0.5), comprising primarily the country's western provinces (8 out of the 10 provinces in this cluster).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Clint Peinhardt, Todd Allee
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The proliferation of investment treaties is perhaps exceeded only by academic studies of those treaties. Legal scholarship has long been attentive to the evolution in international investment agreement (IIA) content -- but until recently, quantitative assessments of IIAs have tended to treat them as interchangeable: the only measure of investor protections encoded in IIAs is whether a treaty had been signed and/or entered into force. Thankfully, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has been at the forefront of capturing not just IIAs' proliferation but also the evolution in their content. Its work shows that treaties apply for differing durations, have conflicting procedures for termination and include varying definitions of even basic terms, such as “investors” and “investment.” Other quantitative studies have begun to measure these variations, focusing initially on differences in dispute resolution. 1 Some IIAs demand that investors choose between domestic and international dispute resolution; some provide explicit consent of both parties to international arbitration; and some designate a particular forum for arbitration, whereas others specify multiple options. Of course, IIAs vary across many dimensions, but our initial examination of dispute resolution provisions alone demonstrates the importance of examining IIA content.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United Nations
  • Author: Alice H. Amsden
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: A priori, is there a growth/efficiency justification for government programs designed to support and promote national companies (public and private) as opposed to, and in competition with, opening the doors to multinational enterprises (MNEs)? In competitive markets, there should be no difference. Where national companies close in capabilities to foreign affiliates do not exist, foreign direct investment (FDI) may stimulate development, if a country is lucky enough to attract it. But in the imperfect markets that characterize the BRICs and other emerging markets, where foreign affiliates may crowd out excellent but inexperienced national firms, the question arises as to which type of enterprise policy makers should encourage for the long run. Historically, policy makers used tariffs to promote national firms (a “race to the bottom”). Today they use investments in science and technology (a “race to the top”).
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Stephan W. Schill
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: At the heart of the so-called “legitimacy crisis” of international investment law, prominently reflected in the Public Statement on the International Investment Regime, is what I call the public law challenge. It builds on the observation that one-off appointed arbitrators, instead of standing courts, review government acts and reach far into the sphere of domestic public law by crafting and refining the standards governing in vestor-state relations. Arbitrations against Uruguay and Australia concerning cigarette packaging are the most recent examples of genuinely public law disputes now settled in arbitration. The disputes about Argentina's emergency legislation and Canada's ban on pesticide s are others. These arbitrations create friction with domestic public law as arbitrators, having little democratic legitimacy, often operate in non-transparent proceedings and produce increasing amounts of incoherent decisions.
  • Topic: Economics, International Law, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Canada, Argentina, Australia
  • Author: Mark Feldman
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The ICSID Convention, under Article 25(1), applies only to those investment disputes that are between a contracting state and a “national” of another contracting state. Given that limitation, and in light of the significant and growing amount of foreign investment by state-controlled entities (SCEs), ICSID tribunals likely will need to address one fundamental issue with greater frequency: whether disputes arising from SCE investments constitute investor-state disputes falling within, or state-to-state disputes falling outside of, the scope of the ICSID Convention.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment, Governance
  • Author: Terutomo Ozawa
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: This is a reply to Francisco Sercovich's commentary on my Perspective on FDI-led industrial takeoff in which I described foreign direct investment (FDI) as an ignition for catch-up industrialization. He emphasized "the rich and nuanced variety of strategic options" (e.g., S policies, engineering education, chaebol-type enterprises for technology absorption, R capabilities), which are, however, relevant only to higher-stages of catch-up, but notto the kick-off stage with which my previous Perspective was concerned. Economic development derives from structural changes at different stages of growth, requiring stages-focused strategies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Jo En Low
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: A review of the definition of “investor” and investor-state dispute resolution clauses in 851 international investment agreements (IIAs) reveals that, except in two, state controlled entities (SCEs) (sovereign wealth funds and state-owned enterprises (SOEs)) have equivalent standing to their purely private counterparts as investors under such IIAs.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Lise Johnson
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: As UNCTAD highlighted over a decade ago and again recently in its Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development, home-country measures (HCMs), like host-country commitments regarding the protection of foreign investors, are tools of promoting foreign investment. Nevertheless, the vast bulk of investment treaties, which state the promotion of foreign investment as their objective, overlook the potential role of HCMs and focus rather singularly on setting out the obligations of host countries regarding the treatment of foreign investors. Even recent agreements and model investment treaties that should represent “next generation” practices incorporating accumulated learning about the impacts and effectiveness of these treaties remain relatively devoid of any obligation for governments to facilitate or promote the quantity and quality of outward investment that many countries want and need for sustainable development.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Sandy Walker
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In its World Investment Report 2011, UNCTAD reported that liberalizing investment policy measures taken globally in 2010 outnumbered restrictive measures. Without the benefit of statistics, investors might have drawn the opposite conclusion, witnessing what appears to be a rising tide of national resistance to foreign takeovers: the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board's rejection of a takeover of the Australian Securities Exchange by the Singapore Exchange, Italian concern over a French company's takeover of dairy giant Parmalat and the US Government's requirement that Chinese company Huawei divest certain assets it had acquired from 3Leaf.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Canada, Australia, Singapore
  • Author: Julien Topal, Perrine Toledano
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Transparency demands in extractive industries are tied to the complex paradoxical correlation between significant resource endowment and poverty in many resource dependent countries. Citizens of these countries and international investors alike only have limited means to scrutinize money-flows between governments and companies, disrupting accountability mechanisms.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Torfinn Harding, Beata Javorcik
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Foreign direct investment flows to developing countries are hindered by many factors. Two of these factors -- the mere lack of information and red tape -- could be easily remedied through investment promotion efforts.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Thomas Jost
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The rise of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) -- together state-controlled entities (SCEs) -- has led to concerns that SCEs could threaten national security by following political rather than mere commercial goals with respect to their foreign direct investment (FDI). While developed countries acknowledged that the rise of SCEs should not lead to new barriers to FDI, several have changed their legislation to expand government oversight of FDI flows. In 2009, Germany also tightened its foreign investment regime. What are the first experiences with this change in German investment law?
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment, Law
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Nicolás Marcelo Perrone
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The world food situation is back in the headlines as price levels surpass 2008 peaks, confirming the rising trend in food markets. Higher prices pose challenges to both food importing and exporting countries. One serious barrier to increasing food output remains the lack of necessary capital and technology in countries that have the potential to increase production rapidly. To avoid a food crisis, international organizations and several governments have increasingly turned to promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) by multinational enterprises (MNEs) in agriculture. This may be an effective solution, but some obstacles stand in the way of the establishment of such projects and, more importantly, their long-term sustainability.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Markets, Food, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Author: Nilgün Gökgür
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: There are no up-to-date systematic data on the size, composition, ownership structure, and economic weight of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), so we are unable to assess the impact of SOE performance on stakeholders in domestic and overseas markets. Yet there is sufficient evidence of their expansion, especially following the 2008 financial crisis. Emerging markets, led by China, are now increasingly encouraging their SOEs to expand globally as multinational enterprises (MNEs).
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, Markets
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Sjoerd Beugelsdijk, Jean-François Hennart, Arjen Slangen, Roger Smeets
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Researchers often call the value added (VA) in a host country by firms based in another country foreign direct investment (FDI) and use FDI stocks and flows from a country's balance of payments to measure it. What FDI stocks and flows actually measure, however, is narrower, since they record long term financial transactions by which domestic firms exert control over foreign firms. French FDI stocks in Australia, for example, measure the value of shares and reinvested earnings of Australian firms owned by French firms and the net indebtedness of these Australian firms to their French parents.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: France, Australia
  • Author: Hermann Ferré, Kabir Duggal
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: In September 2008, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers sent financial markets in the United States into a spin. Credit markets froze as banks began to mistrust counterparties, not knowing the extent of toxic assets in loan portfolios that could lead to another major bank collapse. The crisis quickly spread around the world. Governments were urged to take drastic measures. Experts discussed the possible nationalization of portions of the U.S. banking industry and other sectors. Other countries also considered measures to save key industries.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: George Kahale, III
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Years ago, international tax lawyers introduced us to the term “Dutch sandwich.” The concept was to sandwich a Dutch company between an investor from country A and its investment in country B. The combination of the extensive network of Dutch tax treaties and investor-friendly domestic Dutch tax law meant that country A's investor could reduce withholding tax on dividends out of country B and perhaps eliminate capital gains tax altogether by structuring its investment through a Dutch company.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: John Evans
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is the Organisation's flagship instrument for responsible business conduct. The Guidelines provide non-binding recommendations to multinational enterprises (MNEs), drawn up and implemented by governments. Updated in 2011, they consist of principles and standards in such areas as sustainable development, governance, disclosure, human rights, employment and industrial relations, the environment, anti-corruption, consumer interests, and taxation. The 42 adhering governments are required to promote the Guidelines and to contribute to the resolution of issues arising under the Guidelines, including by setting up a complaints mechanism -- “National Contact Points” (NCPs) -- to which trade unions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are able to submit specific instances concerning alleged breaches of the Guidelines.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Organization, International Political Economy, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment, Governance
  • Author: Luke Eric Peterson
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The recent high-stakes dispute between Google and China over censorship and cyber-security has spawned renewed discussion of the international trade law protections that internet and media companies may enjoy. Less recognized, however, is a perhaps more powerful legal tool in the arsenal of internet and media companies engaging in cross-border investment s, namely international investment law.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Mass Media, Law
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Luís Afonso Lima, Octavio de Barros
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: The internationalization of Brazilian companies is a relatively recent phenomenon. From 2000 to 2003, outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) averaged USD 0.7 billion a year. Over the four-year period 2004−2008, this average jumped to nearly USD 14 billion. In 2008, when global FDI inflows were estimated to have fallen by 15%, OFDI from Brazil almost tripled, increasing from just over USD 7 billion in 2007 to nearly USD 21 billion in 2008 (annex figure 1 below). Central Bank data put the current stock of Brazilian OFDI at USD 104 billion, an increase of 89% over 2003. Caution is in order about these figures, however, as in Brazilian outflows it is difficult to separate authentic FDI from purely financial investment under the guise of FDI. According to the most recent data, 887 Brazilian companies have invested abroad.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Anne Van Aaken, Jürgen Kurtz
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Several developed countries have introduced emergency measures to mitigate the effects of the Global Financial Crisis, including Australia, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Although the measures taken are still undergoing changes by the executive branch and are thus a “moving target”, our survey reveals early evidence of differentiation between foreign and domestic actors in the emergency plans adopted by this sample grouping. It is this differentiation that may give rise to liability as breaching guarantees against discrimination of foreign investors under international investment law.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, International Affairs, Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Ireland