Issue: Jan 31, 2012
Source: Down to Earth
Since the 1990s developing nations have been on a treaty spree, signing a vast number of bilateral and regional investment treaties to attract funds for development. But as the figure of investment treaties has shot up so have the claims for damages from investor companies, which are seeking billions of dollars in compensation on account of regulatory laws. Poor countries are finding that footloose investments are cutting access to water, damaging public health and the environment, and endangering ethnic communities. As transnational firms challenge regulatory laws, countries are forced to retract, and pay damages. Rich states have become equally vulnerable.
Latha Jishnu sifts through case studies and speaks to international lawyers, academics, researchers and development experts to uncover the hidden dangers of investment treaties. The most chilling feature is the role of a cabal of claims attorneys who are making colossal profit at the cost of nations, and sustainable life
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