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A chilling effect? The impact of international investment agreements on national regulatory autonomy in the areas of health, safety and the environment

Côté, Christine (2014) A chilling effect? The impact of international investment agreements on national regulatory autonomy in the areas of health, safety and the environment. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The plain packaging of tobacco products, the disposal of hazardous waste and the management of toxic chemicals are all areas of health, safety and environmental (HSE) regulation which have faced legal challenges by private corporations under international investment agreements established as a means of promoting and protecting inward investment. How these legal challenges are made possible by the international trade and investment regime, and what lasting impact they are having on the regulatory autonomy of governments is the focus of this research. This empirical work seeks to understand the impact of International Investment Agreements (IIAs) on national regulatory autonomy. By probing trends in regulation as well as the level of awareness of IIAs by government regulators, this research aims to identify the likelihood of constrained regulatory decision making or ‘regulatory chill’ amongst those governments who have faced challenges, or the threat of challenges, to their regulatory measures under IIAs. It will also consider whether any chilling effect is more likely in a developing country versus a developed country environment. This research engages with the relevant international relations literature which looks at the impact of the international integration of markets and trends in globalization on the policy autonomy of national governments. More particularly it looks not only at whether globalization leads to the erosion of national policy autonomy, but whether this manifestation of globalization (ie: increasing numbers of negotiated IIAs with private corporate access to binding investor-state arbitration) leads to the erosion of national policy autonomy in the form of forced regulatory restraint or chill. There has been a proliferation of bilateral and regional rules on investment and with worldwide levels of investment expected to reach $1.8 Trillion by 2015, these agreements are arguably relevant to the overall trade and investment system. In this context, this research will contribute to existing academic literature with respect to the impact of trade and investment agreements on state policymaking autonomy within both developed and developing countries and will make recommendations in the area of trade and investment policy development and negotiations, including the role of investment provisions and investor-state dispute settlement in future bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2014 Christine Côté
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Woolcock, Stephen

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