22 Mar Call for Submissions: FDI in the Caribbean and Latin America
Few international economic lawyers doubt the value of foreign direct investment (FDI). There is even some consensus that FDI plays a vital role in fostering development in host states. It triggers technology expansion, assists human capital formation, and nurtures a dynamic business environment. States—especially across the Third World—appeal to investors in the hopes of attracting a share of the green gold.
Although there is truth to the narrative, its proponents might overestimate the benefits of FDI. Worldwide, FDI only accounts for 1.2% of global GDP or 0.5% more than remittances. As expressed by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, “there is no evidence to suggest that FDI contributed to significant changes in the region’s productive structure over the course of the decade.”
Despite limited evidence, the value of FDI remains gospel, justifying VIP treatment for foreign investors and their investments in the name of global public interest or to strengthen the international rule of law. Positive stories of FDI such as the car industry in Mexico are repeated ad nauseam. Investment tribunals reinforce this viewpoint, endorsing the mantra that “the investment is the asset.” Yet, the real contribution to the economy is under-researched while the negative externalities are cast aside. For example, failure to renew the license to operate a hazardous waste landfill can result in a multimillion-dollar dispute. Even worse, a socioeconomic crisis can force a state to compensate foreign investors for public policy measures adopted to weather the storm.
Opinio Juris is hosting a symposium that explores FDI with emphasis on the context in Latin America and the Caribbean. Each contribution will problematise the character of FDI both legally and socio-legally. For instance, not all FDI is equal. Can host states adapt investment rules to promote certain types investment? Should the merit of the underlying investment factor into the availability of arbitral proceedings? How might vulnerable economies protect themselves from extractive or predatorial FDI?
We invite scholars and postgraduate students to contribute to the symposium. Please submit a tentative title and abstract of 250 words to Dr Mohsen al Attar (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Rafael Quintero Godínez (email@example.com) by 19 April 2021. We will select 8-10 submissions and we commit to being inclusive in our evaluation criteria, ensuring wide representation of identities, approaches, and ideologies.
If successful, you must submit a blogpost in the range of 1800-2000 words by 15 July 2021. The style of writing should cohere with the norms of a scholarly blog rather than those of an academic journal (e.g. hyperlinks are preferred over footnotes). Opinio Juris will publish the invited submissions as a symposium in early August 2021.