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Sustainable International Investment Law after the Pax Americana: The BOOT on the Other Foot

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Rising foreign direct investment (‘FDI’) from emerging market economies has resulted in modifications to the existing regime of international investment law, created largely to serve the needs of Western multinational enterprises (MNEs) in the 20th Century. This article will examine the associated rejection of liberalization in favour of greater control by host states in the developed world. Some aspects of this process should be viewed in a positive light because of their acknowledgement of important public interest concerns, embracing principles of sustainability. While these regulatory restrictions on FDI may not in all instances have been pursued specifically to disadvantage emerging market MNEs, these firms may face difficulties that their western counterparts did not, entrenching so-called “first mover advantage”.

Affiliations: 1: BA, JD (Toronto), MSc, BCL (Oxon), Senior Lecturer, The City Law School, City University London*, Email:, URL:


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