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印度是否会摒弃投资者与国家的投资仲裁?

更新时间:2017-10-09 11:39:12  张振安 临时仲裁ADA 编辑:lianluobu  点击次数:334次

20161229日,印度政府在印度最高法院退休法官B N Srikrishna的主持下组建了一个高级别委员会。印度政府曾承诺迅速解决商业争端,使印度成为国际仲裁中心,该委员会正是根据这一承诺而组建。委员会的职责范围包括审查现有仲裁机制的有效性,研究仲裁机构在印度的运作和表现并查明这些机构在人力、技能、基础设施和资金方面的差距。

201783日,委员会向司法部长提交了一份143页的报告,该报告若能得到执行,将使印度国际仲裁制度急需作出改变。无论如何,该报告中的建议将对投资仲裁产生深远影响。该委员会主张摒弃投资者与国家之间的仲裁方式并推荐各种措施如国家对国家仲裁,强制协商与调解,也尝试构思设立一个多边投资法院。

自“White Industries v. The Republic ofIndia India”案的裁决作出后,印度已面临大量投资者与国家之间的索赔。针对印度提起的案例有21起,其中11起仍悬而未决。这些案件促使印度重新拟定《2003双边投资条约(BIT)范本》,2015年,印度采用了一份贸易保护主义的新BIT并引起了BIT制度的显著变化。正如一则新闻报道所述,印度正期待对现有BIT进行重新谈判,使之与其《2015 BIT范本》保持一致。迄今为止,印度已向57个国家发出终止通知,其中包括作为资本输出国的欧盟。《2015 BIT范本》的使用受到了批评,Prabhash Ranjan指出BIT对投资者的保护可能会导致外商直接投资(FDI)流入的增长。另一方面,缺乏投资者与国家之间的仲裁可能会使外国投资更易于投资国滥用行政权力。当前建议如果被采纳,将对印度正进行的重新谈判产生重要影响。

摒弃投资者与国家之间的仲裁

委员会在报告第108页提出了关键建议,其主张摒弃投资者与国家直接解决争端的现行机制。在支持该建议时,委员会特别提到最近达成的《印度与巴西BIT》,该BIT并没有采用投资者与国家之间的仲裁,而是规定一名申诉专员进行国与国之间的仲裁。委员会在批准该机制时强调“相比于投资者与国家之间的仲裁,国与国之间的仲裁能够增强各国对仲裁程序的控制,国家的直接参与可以允许一些互惠空间,避免不必要的仲裁索赔并允许国家更大程度地参与到纠纷解决过程中。

替代方案——现存BIT中的上诉机制

如果印度选择不放弃投资者与国家之间的仲裁机制,委员会已经建议进一步修改BIT并将上诉机制纳入其中。委员会认为,这样的机制可以很好地处理类似于“仲裁庭往往作出对投资者有利的裁决而使各国无法寻求上诉”的批评。委员会还提及“不一致性和不可预测性”的深层次问题,并认为上诉机制可能能够解决这些问题。委员会在提出建议时还提到美国与新加坡、智利和摩洛哥的自由贸易协定中所包含的上诉机制。

多边投资法院

委员会的主题(即反对投资者与国家之间进行仲裁)显而易见,并建议政府探索多边投资法院的选择,如欧盟自2015以来一直在探索设立的多边投资法院。

强制协商、和解、监察人和调解制度

委员会强烈建议所采用的系统须“潜在地将投资者与国家之间的争端最小化,或一旦争议出现,采用某种流程或平台进行疏导,该流程或平台能够聚焦并强调通过沟通形成一致的解决方案。”要达到这个目标,委员会建议增加强制性协商、和解、监察人与调解制度委员会特别强调,调解具有性价比高、保护机密性,“强化当事人之间关系”和“维护长期关系”的优势。委员会建议政府应试图将强制调解条款纳入到所有新签署(根据正在进行的谈判过程签署)的BIT中。

2015 BIT示范》的批准

委员会已批准对《2015 BIT示范》中的争端解决条款进行修改。这些变化包括采用多层次争端解决程序,规定投资者与国家进行仲裁之前需穷尽当地救济。根据《2015 BIT示范》第15条,投资者自其首次获知违约事项之日起至少5年必须穷尽所有当地救济方法。当事人在5年期满后可以提出索赔,并有义务在6个月内尽最大努力以友好方式解决争端。只有在尽最大努力仍未能解决争端的情况下,投资者才能提交仲裁。该程序已被委员会批准,委员会没有就其他方面(例如存在征收条款以及缺乏公平和公正待遇条款时需进行的调整)发表意见。

解决现有及未来争议的机制

除提出政策转变外,委员会还处理了BIT下的争端管理问题并概括了合适的争端管理机制包含的五大支柱——程序、权力、协调、律师和资金。这些关键词下的建议包括:(1)指定某个机构负责纠纷管理和投资者的索赔;(2)创建一个机构负责协调国家在仲裁各个阶段作出的抗辩;(3)创建一个部际小组协调各纠纷管理机构以确保国家的观点能在仲裁庭上得到充分表达;(4)密切监视印度投资者对其他缔约国提起的争端以确保印度投资者对条约的解释不违背印度政府所采取的立场;(5)任命无任何利益冲突的合格且著名的律师;(6确保律师团队中包含事务律师和首席律师;(7)为投资者与国家之间的仲裁程序创建抗辩基金以确保二者间的仲裁程序不会因资金不可用而导致延迟。

结论

高级委员的报告起初承认政府有必要预先发起一项广泛的BIT方案吸引外国投资。但该报告的建议或许只是一个指标,该指标表明印度不再仅依靠投资者与国家之间仲裁的保护方式来吸引这种投资。最近签订的《印度-巴西双边投资条约》中没有投资者与国家的仲裁,这表明印度对这一机制已持怀疑态度。印度现在试图对57个双边条约重新进行谈判,其中包括资本输出国荷兰(印度第三大外国直接投资来源地)。不同于巴西,荷兰最有可能支持强有力的投资者保护条款。高级别委员会建议的实施将导致印度投资者与国家仲裁的政策发生转变,这可能对印度即将进行的条约谈判产生重要影响。

 

【英文版】

 

WillIndia do away with investor state arbitration?

Rohit Bhat/August 23, 2017 /Leave a comment

 

On 29th December 2016,the Government of India constituted a High-Level Committee under theChairmanship of Mr. Justice B N Srikrishna, Retired Judge, Supreme Court ofIndia. The Committee was constituted pursuant to the Government’s commitment tospeedy resolution of commercial disputes and to make India an international hubof arbitration. The terms of reference of the Committee required it to examinethe effectiveness of existing arbitration mechanisms, studying the functioningand performance of arbitral institutions in India and identifying gapsregarding manpower, skills, infrastructure, and funding in suchinstitutions. 

On3rd August 2017, the Committee forwarded its 143-pagereport to the Law Minister and if implemented, it will bring aboutmuch-needed changes to India’s international arbitration regime. However, itsrecommendations concerning investor-state arbitration have far reachingconsequences. The Committee has advocated a move away from investor statearbitration and has recommended various measures such as state to statearbitration, compulsory negotiation and mediation and also toyed with the ideaof a multilateral investment court.

Since thedecision in White Industries v. The Republic of India India has faceda barrage of investor state claims. 21 cases have been filed against it, 11 ofwhich are still pending. These cases prompted India to re-draft its 2003 ModelBIT, and in 2015, India adopted a newprotectionist BIT(available here) which broughtabout significantchanges to the BIT regime. As stated in this newsreport, India is looking to renegotiate all its existing BIT’s to bring it intune with its 2015 Model BIT. India has, thus far, served termination noticesto 57 countries, which includes capital exporting states of the EU. The use ofthe 2015 Model BIT has been subject to criticism and as pointed out by PrabhashRanjan a BIT that protects investors may contribute to rising FDI inflows.The lack of investor state arbitration, on the other hand, may render foreigninvestment more vulnerable to regulatory abuse. The present recommendations, ifadopted, will play an important role in India’s ongoing BIT re-negotiations.

Moving away from investor statearbitration:

The criticalrecommendation of the Committee is made at Page 108 of the report where theCommittee advocates a move away from the present system of investor-statedispute resolution. In supporting its recommendation, the committee has madespecific reference to the recently concluded India-Brazil BIT. This BIT doesnot provide for investor-state arbitration. Instead, it provides for anombudsman and state-state arbitration. The Committee has, in approving such amechanism, emphasised that ‘state-state arbitration givesstates greater control over the arbitral proceedings as compared toinvestor-state arbitration and that the involvement of both the states directlycan allow some room for reciprocity, prevent unnecessary arbitration claims andotherwise provide for greater involvement of states in the dispute resolutionprocess.’

In the alternative – appellatemechanisms in the existing BIT’s

If India choosesnot to do away with investor state mechanisms, the Committee has recommended makinga further change to its BITs and incorporating an appellate mechanism. Such amechanism, according to the Committee, will deal with the criticism that ‘arbitraltribunals often rule in favour of the investor, leaving states without recourseto appeal.’ Further problems of ‘inconsistency and unpredictability’have also been referred to, and it is suggested that an appellate mechanism mayresolve these problems. In making its recommendation, the Committee hasreferred to the appellate mechanisms included by the United States in its freetrade agreements with Singapore, Chile, and Morocco.

Multilateral investment courts

Theanti-investor-state arbitration theme of the Committee is apparent from itssuggestion that the Government explores the option of multilateral investmentcourts, such as the one that the EU has been working on since 2015.

Compulsory Negotiation, Conciliation,Ombudspersons and Mediation

The Committeehas made strong recommendations in favor of systems that ‘potentially couldminimize investor-state dispute, or once they have arisen, channelise them toprocesses and platforms which focus and highlight communication and the shapingof consensual solutions.’ To achieve this objective, the Committee suggests theinclusion of provisions for mandatory negotiation, conciliation, ombudspersons,and mediation. The Committee has specifically emphasized mediation, whichhas the advantage of being cost effective, preserving confidentiality,‘strengthening of the relationship between the parties’ and ‘preserving longterm relationships.’ The Committee has recommended that Government attempt toincorporate a mandatory mediation clause in any new BIT signed pursuant to theongoing renegotiation process.

Approval of the 2015 Model BIT

The Committeehas given its approval to changes made to the dispute resolution clauses in the2015 Model BIT. These changes include the multi-tiered dispute resolutionprocedure that provides for exhaustion of local remedies before investor statearbitration can be invoked. Under Article 15 of the 2015 Model BIT, an investoris required to exhaust all local remedies for a period of at least 5 years fromthe date on which he first acquired knowledge of the breach.  After that,a claim may be submitted, and parties are then obligated to use best-efforts toresolve the dispute amicably for a period of 6 months. It is only on thefailure of such best efforts that an investor can submit a claim forarbitration. This procedure has been approved by the Committee. The Committeehas refrained from making any observations on other areas such as the changesbrought about by the expropriation clause and the absence of a fair andequitable treatment clause.

Mechanisms to deal with existing andfuture disputes

Apart fromsuggesting a policy shift, the Committee has also dealt with dispute managementunder the BITs and has outlined the five pillars of a proper mechanism fordispute management – procedures, authority, coordination, counsel, and funds.Recommendations under these heads include (a) designating a body that would beresponsible for dispute management and claims of investors; (b) creation of abody that would be responsible for coordinating the state’s defence at allstages of the arbitration; (c) creation of an inter-ministerial group tocoordinate with the dispute management agency in order to ensure that thestate’s views are adequately represented before the tribunal; (d) closemonitoring of disputes brought by Indian investors against other contractingstates so as to ensure that treaty interpretations by Indian investors do notrun contrary to the position adopted by the Indian Government; (e) Appointingqualified and reputed counsel without any conflict of interest; (f) ensuringthat the team of counsel consists of solicitor and leadcounseland lastly; and(g) the creation of a fund for defence of investor state proceedings so as toensure that unavailability of funds does not delay investor state arbitrationproceedings.

Conclusion

The High-LevelCommittee report in the first instance recognizes that it was necessary for theGovernment to have (previously) initiated an extensive BIT program to attractforeign investment. Its recommendations, however, is perhaps an indicator ofthe fact that India no longer needs solely rely on investor state protection toattract such investment. The recently concluded India-Brazil BIT that containedno investor state arbitration shows India’s skepticism of this mechanism. Indianow seeks to renegotiate 57 BIT’s, including with capital exporting countriessuch as the Netherlands (India’s third largest source of foreign directinvestment), which unlike Brazil, would most likely favor strong investorprotection provisions. Implementing the recommendations of the High-LevelCommittee will result in a policy shift in India’s approach to investor statearbitration, which may have an important impact on India’s upcoming treatynegotiations.