International investment by State-controlled entities (SCEs) is on the rise. State-owned enterprises (SOEs), especially from Europe, have long been active players in the world FDI market. They have been joined, in the past few years, by a wide range of SOEs and sovereign wealth funds from emerging markets, including from China, Russia, and Singapore. Parallel to the rise of international investment, investors have become more assertive in pursuing their rights under international investment agreements. The result has been a rise in treaty-based international investment disputes. It can be expected that the number of international arbitrations initiated by SCEs, while currently limited, will likely grow in coming years as well. This, in turn, leads to the question as to what specific issues may arise in international arbitrations if a claimant is a State or a State-controlled entity.
On March 19, 2010, the Vale Columbia Center hosted a Roundtable on States and State-Controlled Entities as Claimants in International Investment Arbitration. The Roundtable reviewed cases brought in the past by SCEs and the issues that were discussed in their context, and it looked at the experience gained in commercial arbitrations as regards SCEs. From there, the Roundtable moved on to a number of specific issues that appear to be most relevant in the context of SCEs as claimants, namely issues related to the initiation of claims, forum selection, parallel proceedings, counterclaims, and third-party financing. Understanding the new environment in which SCEs may operate as parties to international arbitrations, as well as the principal issues relating to disputes involving them, becomes an increasingly important matter for anyone interested in international investment law and arbitration.
More information on the Roundtable event, including the program and participant list, is available here