The Effect of Treaties on Foreign Direct Investment: Bilateral Investment Treaties, Double Taxation Treaties, and Investment Flows by Karl P. Sauvant and Lisa E. Sachs (eds)

Publication Date01 March 2011
Date01 March 2011
AuthorDavid Collins
Karl P. Sauvant and Lisa E. Sachs (eds),The E¡ect of Treaties on Foreign Direct
Investment: Bilateral Investment Treaties, Double Taxation Treaties, and
Investment Flows
,Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, 732 pp, hb d90.00.
This editedvolume provides the mostcomprehensive coverage of the decades-old
controversy surrounding the e¡ect of investment treaties on the level of foreign
direct investment into signatory states, which is often characterised as a risky
surrender of autonomy in exchange for uncertain ¢nancial gain. The book con-
sists of 24 chapters authored bya wide rangeof experts drawnprimarily from the
¢elds of lawand economics and compiled by Karl Sauvant, and Lisa Sachs, both
highly regarded experts on foreign direct investment a⁄liated with the increas-
ingly in£uential Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment.
This large volume is divided into four sections: the ¢rst outlines the historical
context and general content of the investment treaties; the second and third
sections respectively explore the e¡ect of bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and
double taxation treaties (DTTs) on investment £ows betwee n states; and the
fourth section o¡ers one article that combines a ¢nal consideration of BITs and
DTTs and a second useful bibliography for further reading.
As is often the case with edited volumes comprising chapters from many
authors, there is much irrit ating repetition of infor mation, including notably the
chronology of the rise of BITs as well as simple introductoryde¢nitions.The fact
that eachchapter essentially discussesthe same issues as all otherchapters mayalso
be seen as a strength. Since each author adopts a unique approach, the book over-
all attains a level of global coverage that could scarcely be achieved by any other
means.To the extent that general conclusions can be drawn from a book of this
size and varied authorship, they are disappointing in their indeterminacy. As
noted in the Preface and in the editors’ Introduction, the results of the many
attempts to ascertain the practical e¡ect of BITs and DTTs are inconclusive and
largely dependent upon the local socio-economic and political conditions within
the signatory states that have chosen to implement such instruments. The failure
to resolve the debate should not, however, be viewed as a failure of this book,as it
remains a sharply analytical compendium of data on the e¡ects of foreign direct
investment through internation al legal instru ments and is consequentlya highly
successful and timelycontribution to international investment law scholarship.
Given its tight focus on essentially one debate, the collection misses a few
opportunitie s to provide greater insight into international investment law more
generally. For example, it could have o¡ered furthercommentary on the fascinat-
ing issue of foreign direct investment £ows between developing states, or
so-called ‘south-south investment’, especially given the recent rise in prominence
of the emerging ‘BRIC economies’.This omission may be an indication of the
r2011The Authors.The Modern Law Review r2011The Modern Law Review Limited.
Published by BlackwellPublishing, 9600 Garsington Road,Oxford OX4 2DQ,UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA
(2011) 74(2) 322^328

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