The Regionalisation of Laws and Policy on Foreign Investment
While the promotion and protection of foreign investors and their investment is the main purpose for entering into an investment agreement, host countries have to balance these interests with other policy objectives, including non-economic policies such as those related to health, safety, employment and the protection of the consumers and the environment. Furthermore, these concerns have to be addressed in the framework of an economic policy that benefits all sectors of society. This means that, on occasions, regulation of certain economic activities may not fully accommodate the obligations enshrined in investment agreements. The need to regulate these aspects has not traditionally been a concern in investment agreements. Rather, the focus of these instruments rests on the promotion and protection of foreign investments. The majority of bilateral investment agreements do not provide rules on deviations from the rights and obligation recognised therein. Instead, investment disciplines adopted in the wider context of PTAs are usually subject to sectoral reservations, as well as to general exceptions that frame disciplines on investments in the context of other regulatory objectives.
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