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Regulatory Autonomy in International Economic Law

The Evolution of Australian Policy on Trade and Investment

Andrew D. Mitchell, Elizabeth Sheargold and Tania Voon

Regulatory Autonomy in International Economic Law provides the first extensive legal analysis of Australia’s trade and investment treaties in the context of their impact on national regulatory autonomy. This thought-provoking study offers compelling lessons for not only Australia but also countries around the globe in relation to pressing current problems, including the uncertain future of the World Trade Organization and widespread concerns about the legitimacy of investor–State dispute settlement.
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The Evolution of Australian Policy on Trade and Investment

Andrew D. Mitchell, Elizabeth Sheargold and Tania Voon


About the Authors



Table of Cases

Tables of Treaties

1  Regulatory Autonomy and the Evolution of Australia’s Participation in PTAs and BITs

I   Introduction

II  Defining ‘Regulatory Autonomy’ and its Constraints

A  The Development of International Economic Law as a Constraint on Autonomy

B  International Economic Law: Impacts and Rationales

III  Identifying Australia’s PTAs and BITs: History, Scope and Terminology

IV  First Generation: ANZCERTA and BITs

A  International Trade Agreements: ANZCERTA as an Exception to the Multilateral Focus

B  International Investment Agreements: Australia as a Relative Latecomer

V    Second Generation: The Shift Towards PTAs

VI   Third Generation: Backlash and ‘21st Century PTAs’

VII  Conclusions and Outline

2  Intellectual Property: Increasing Protections under US Influence

I   Introduction

II  Copyright

A  Overview: TRIPS-Plus Obligations from the AUSFTA Onwards

B  Copyright Term

C  Fair Use

D  Parallel Imports

E  Anti-Circumvention

III  Trade Marks

A  Trade Mark-Related Tobacco Disputes

B  Rights of Trade Mark Owners in Australia’s PTAs

IV  Patents

A  TRIPS-Plus Obligations in the AUSFTA and the TPP

B  Impact of the AUSFTA on Australia’s Other International Trade Obligations

C  Costs of Excessive Patent Protection

V   Conclusion

3  Trade in Services: Lumbering Towards More Open Markets

I   Introduction

II  Scope of Services Chapters

III  Core Obligations

A  Non-Discrimination, Market Access and Local Presence: Listing and Modes

B  Domestic Regulation

IV  Australia’s Commitments and Non-Conforming Measures

A  ANZCERTA Services Protocol: Annex

B  Positive Lists: Commitments, Limitations and Conditions

C  Negative Lists: Non-Conforming Measures

V   General Exceptions

VI  WTO-Consistency of Australia’s PTAs

VII  Conclusion

4  Investment: Haphazard Responses to Expansive Obligations

I   Introduction

II  Key Substantive Obligations

A  MFN Treatment

B  Minimum Standard of Treatment

C  Expropriation

III  Key Exceptions

A  Non-Conforming Measures

B  General Exceptions

IV  Conclusion

5  Investor–State Dispute Settlement: Uncertainty, Inconsistency and Scope for Reform

I    Introduction

II   Consent to ISDS in Australia’s BITs

III  The Inclusion or Exclusion of ISDS in PTAs: Australia’s Variable Approach

IV  ISDS Reforms in Australia’s PTAs

A  Forum Shopping

B  Exclusion of Decisions on Admission of Foreign Investment

C  Transparency

D  Joint Decisions, Public Welfare and Tobacco Control

E  Code of Conduct

V   EU’s Proposed Investment Court Including Appeals

VI  Conclusion

6  Environmental Protection: Moderate Safeguards and Novel Opportunities

I   Introduction

II  Does Investment Protection Undermine Environmental Regulation? Assurances from NAFTA Ch 11 Disputes

A  Comparing Key Provisions of NAFTA Chapter 11 with Australian BITs and PTAs

B  Environmental Measures Found Consistent with NAFTA

C  Environmental Measures Found Inconsistent with NAFTA

D  Lessons for Australia from NAFTA Disputes Regarding Environmental Measures

III  Drafting Australian PTAs and BITs to Safeguard Environmental Objectives

A  General Exceptions: Coverage of Environmental Measures

B  Other Exceptions Provisions and Non-Conforming Measures

IV  PTAs and BITs as Tools to Improve Environmental Regulation?

A  Environment Chapters in Australia’s PTAs

B  ISDS as a Means of Enforcing Domestic Environmental Law

V   Conclusions

7  Balancing the Benefits of Liberalisation with Policy Space

I    Introduction

II   Rebalancing Standards: Intellectual Property, Services, Investment, Environment

III  The Interaction of Sectors, Objectives and Agreements

IV  Treaty Processes: Negotiation, Conclusion, Entry into Force

V   Conclusion