Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) Reform Conference: Mapping the Way Forward (the Conference)

The Department of Justice of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Asian Academy of International Law co-organised the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) Reform Conference: Mapping the Way Forward (the Conference) on February 13, 2019.

According to the World Investment Report prepared by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Hong Kong ranked world no. 3 for foreign direct investment inflows and world no. 5 for foreign direct investment outflows in 2017. The Belt and Road Initiative has also opened up a lot of investment opportunities. At the same time, it comes with concerns on how to properly resolve investor-state disputes in light of the growing number of foreign investments along the Belt and Road routes. In this connection, the ongoing debate on the possible ISDS reform is particularly relevant to Hong Kong, as an international dispute resolution centre under the Belt and Road Initiative.

It is therefore Hong Kong’s privilege to host the Conference with a view to contributing meaningfully to the discussion on possible ISDS reform. The Conference invited leading international practitioners, academics, business people, senior officers from international organisations such as the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) as well as senior government officials in this region and beyond to come together to discuss important pertinent issues such as investment mediation, appeal mechanism, third party funding, appointment of and rules on arbitrators, as well as permanent investment court.

It is expected that the in-depth discussions and lively debates in the Conference will facilitate relevant policy making in Asia, and the on-going work of UNCITRAL Working Group III, which has been entrusted to work on the possible ISDS reform at the international level.

Attendees included prominent members of legal communities in Hong Kong, the Mainland of China and overseas, who declared the event a resounding success.

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