Mexico signs the ICSID Convention on the heels of discussions at UNCITRAL about ISDS reform

On 11 January 2018, Mexico’s Secretary of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, signed the ICSID Convention in Washington, DC.  The Convention will enter into force for Mexico 30 days after Mexico deposits the instrument of ratification.

Mexico’s adoption of the Convention, and thereby its consent to the arbitration of investment disputes via the ICSID process, comes a few weeks after the 34th session of the UNCITRAL Working Group III, which deliberated “possible reform of investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS)”.  The session was attended by representatives from 80 States and 35 observers, including the European Union, the ICSID, the OECD and the PCA.

The Working Group discussed, amongst other reform topics, a proposal for the establishment of a “permanent international tribunal” for investor-State dispute settlement.  The record of the meeting indicates a broad range of views on the proposal, both in favour and against.

For instance, alongside a number of EU Member States, Canada considered the establishment of a permanent court as “a way of addressing concerns about the legitimacy of the adjudication process and to improve the quality and consistency of awards”.

A number of other States, however, expressed reservations about the proposal.  For example, Thailand considered that, “[w]hile the establishment of [a multilateral investment court] may have several benefits, it might still be worth exploring options other than creating a new mechanism in order to address the challenges associated with existing mechanisms”.  China observed that “before launching any discussion on reform to the current [ISDS] regime”, States “should carefully examine the pro[s] and cons of any proposal in a pragmatic but cautious manner in order to find the most appropriate solution to address such problems without bringing any new systemic challenges”.

The Working Group is scheduled to continue its deliberations over the future of investor-State dispute settlement at its next session in New York from 23 to 27 April 2018.  For more information on the UNCITRAL Working Group III meeting, click here.