Beyond Trade Deals: Charting a Post-Brexit Course for UK Investment Treaties

The Brexit referendum has raised questions about the future terms of the United Kingdom’s engagement with the world economy. While a debate over the UK’s future approach to trade deals has already begun, a similar discussion has yet to develop on the treaties that govern foreign investment. As this briefing note by Lorenzo Cotula of the International Institute for Environment and Development, and Lise Johnson of CCSI highlights, the stakes are high: ill-designed treaties could leave the UK excessively exposed to legal claims by foreign companies and could fail to address relevant economic, social and environmental challenges. While meaningful negotiations are unlikely to start until the new relationship between the UK and the EU has been clarified, now would be a good time for a policy review to define a new approach. The government, parliament and the public have an important role to play in positioning the UK as a global innovator in investment treaty policy.