Withdrawing from Investment Treaties but Protecting Investment

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A backlash against Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), in which multinational corporations can sue governments, has led some states to unilaterally withdraw from some of the thousands of investment treaties that facilitate ISDS. But thanks to redundancies in the dense, decentralized network of investment treaties, states can reject some treaty commitments to ISDS and maintain most (if not all) international legal protections for foreign investors. In this article, we explain the source of redundancies, document the group of states that have taken advantage of unilateral withdrawal, and demonstrate that states can recalibrate their international legal commitments without eschewing contemporary international investment law.

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