« Why no investor-state arbitration in the Australia-Japan FTA? | Blog home | Do Many of Australia’s (and Some of Japan's) Treaties Not Give Full Consent to Investor-State Arbitration? »

business learning training articles new learning business training opportunities finance learning training deposit money learning making training art loan learning training deposits make learning your training home good income learning outcome training issue medicine learning training drugs market learning money training trends self learning roof training repairing market learning training online secure skin learning training tools wedding learning training jewellery newspaper learning for training magazine geo learning training places business learning training design Car learning and training Jips production learning training business ladies learning cosmetics training sector sport learning and training fat burn vat learning insurance training price fitness learning training program furniture learning at training home which learning insurance training firms new learning devoloping training technology healthy learning training nutrition dress learning training up company learning training income insurance learning and training life dream learning training home create learning new training business individual learning loan training form cooking learning training ingredients which learning firms training is good choosing learning most training efficient business comment learning on training goods technology learning training business secret learning of training business company learning training redirects credits learning in training business guide learning for training business cheap learning insurance training tips selling learning training abroad protein learning training diets improve learning your training home security learning training importance

There has been a flurry of media attention paid to Australia-Japan relations this week. For example, I was asked to appear on “The Wire” radio on 7 April, on the eve of the conclusion of 7 years of negotiating this major bilateral Free Trade Agreement (transcript here). At that stage, the inclusion of Investor-State Dispute Resolution (ISDS) protections for foreign investment in the treaty was still a real possibility, but I argued that there was no need to panic. Japanese investors have never experienced major problems with Australian government authorities illegally interfering with their investments, and indeed have never directly invoked ISDS (especially arbitration) procedures already provided by Japan’s treaties with around 30 countries.

Both governments subsequently announced key features of the Japan-Australia FTA, which ultimately did not include ISDS – unlike the Korea-Australia FTA concluded in December 2013 (and formally signed this week in Seoul). On this blog and then the East Asia Forum, I argued that this presumably meant that the Australian negotiators were happy enough with market access commitments offered by Japan, especially for agricultural products. This may be true but it is hard to be sure, and he argued that omitting even a weak form of ISDS in the FTA with Japan may complicate Australia’s ongoing regional and bilateral FTA negotiations (including with India and Indonesia).

More broadly, as reported in The New Daily on 9 April, I recorded my hope that consumers and their organizations will press automobile and other retailers to pass on all or most of the price reductions that should follow from the tariff reductions agreed in the new FTA. Overall, I commented to the Sydney Morning Herald that the FTA looks like a very good deal for Australia, but that “the devil is in the details” – and the text has not yet been made public.

On 2 April, I also provided a Submission (No 21) to the Senate inquiry into the Trade and Foreign Investment (Protecting the Public Interest) Bill 2014, proposed by a Greens Party senator from Tasmania to preclude the Australian government from ever including ISDS in future treaties. The Submission attaches my article in a special issue of the Asian Studies Review (2013), which also argues that a more nuanced approach is needed to improve the treaty-based investment arbitration system.

Over 2014-2016 I am examining questions related to foreign investment and ISDS particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, for a cross-institutional and inter-disciplinary Discovery Project funded by the Australian Research Council. These topics will also be raised at the 12th conference of the Australian Network for Japanese Law (ANJeL), which I am co-organising with JCU A/Prof Justin Dabner for 16 May in Cairns, with the theme of “Japanese Law and Business amidst Bilateral and Regional Free Trade Agreements”.

About the Blog

Japanese Law in Asia-Pacific Socio-Economic Context