MAI DRAFT TEXT OF 1997: VI. EXCEPTIONS AND SAFEGUARDS
1. It has been proposed that the general exceptions provisions not be applicable to all of the obligations under the agreement. The ECT (Article 24(1)) is an example of a multilateral agreement that does not allow for general exceptions to be taken with regard to specific obligations concerning compensation for losses or expropriation. Bilateral treaty practice differs on this matter. Some delegations thought that a reference to paragraph 2(c) would be necessary to clarify that actions pursuant to a UN Charter obligation would in any case prevail over the MAI (see paragraph 9, below)., The Austrian delegation submitted a proposal which would have the same effect by changing the order of the paragraphs.
2. The question is whether certain obligations of the agreement are considered so central to investor protection, for example compensation in case of expropriation, that a provision should limit the right of a Contracting Party to invoke this Article for actions that would be inconsistent with its obligation to pay compensation in the case of an expropriation.
3. The majority view was that the MAI should provide an absolute guarantee that an investor will be compensated for an expropriated investment. This was questioned by the United States delegation which doubted that in time of war whether a country would be able to pay compensation, in all cases, to an investor of a party with which it is in conflict. In the case that general exceptions would be permitted to override MAI obligations, delegations might further consider whether this should be limited to only essential security interests.
4. One delegation raised the issue of the need to ensure that this provision would not apply retroactively. Delegations pointed to customary international law rules limiting retroactive application of treaties. They agreed this was a valid point, but that it applied more generally to the entire agreement and should be addressed elsewhere.
l. Canada, supported by other delegations, requested square brackets be put around the phrase "which it considers" in the chapeau, as well as brackets around the phrase "or other emergency in international relations" at the end of (i). In the opinion of these delegations, these proposals would help safeguard against potential abuse by constraining the selfjudging nature of the provision and by limiting its scope. One delegation believes that, based on an ICJ decision, such a change would eliminate the self-judging nature of the provision.
2. There were different views on whether to delete the phrase "including those" in the chapeau, which would make the list a closed one. Recent agreements like the NAFTA. the ECT, the GATS, and the Shipbuilding agreement do not define essential security interests but provide elements clarifying the purpose of the provision. The Austrian Delegation thought that in a closed list it would also be necessary to amend element (ii) (by inserting the phrase "inter alia" after the word 'non-proliferation") to cover international non-proliferation agreements, other than those relating to nuclear weapons for example agreements concerning chemical weapons. Denmark, supported by other delegations, proposed the inclusion of an additional element (iii).
3. This provision is found in recent agreements (NAFTA, ECT, GATS, Shipbuilding). Canada, supported by other delegations, requested that square brackets be put around the phrase "it considers" (to be replaced by "would be") to help safeguard against potential abuse by constraining the selfjudging nature of the provision. One delegation believes that, based on an ICJ decision, such a change would eliminate the self judging nature of the provision.
4. Several delegations noted that this issue also arose in the context of the discussion on transparency in the National Treatment chapter. Japan pointed out that in its opinion this paragraph would also apply to concerns relating to public order.
5. Agreements such as the NAFTA, GATS, and the Shipbuilding agreement include a general exception provision relating to obligations for the maintenance of international peace and security. These provisions refer specifically to obligations under the UN Charter. Some delegations thought it unnecessary to refer to this obligation because the supremacy of the UN Charter over international treaties is not disputed, but they agreed not to insist on its deletion if others wanted to make this explicit. Others were of the opinion that this reference was too restrictive because it might not cover actions taken pursuant to regional security arrangements. To address this point, the Canadian delegation proposed including, after the words "UN Charter", the phrase "or equivalent arrangements authorised by a competent international organization". The United States saw this as an issue of clarification rather than one of restrictiveness and suggested including, after the word "under", the phrase "or consistent with".
1. Some countries believe that a reference to public order is necessary to allow countries to take exceptional measures based on this principle. France indicated in a written submission [DAFFE/MAI/DG2/RD(96)21] that a public order clause was meant to ensure certain objectives, including the non-discriminatory application of its laws and the prevention of disturbances to the public order that could be posed by certain foreign investments. It thought that given the different circumstances of foreign and domestic investors as concerns the protection of public order, it would not be possible, in all cases, to accord equivalent treatment to these different types of investors. Delegations recognised the interest of a state in ensuring the application of its criminal laws, anti-terrorist measures, and money laundering regulations, for example. But not all delegations were convinced that it is necessary to discriminate between foreign and domestic investors in order to protect public order. Austria remarked that if the MAI went beyond national treatment obligations to include the concept of market access, then the broader interpretation of public order would be necessary.
2. Several delegations were of the opinion that provision might need to be made for cases where information requirements or other formalities might be required of foreign investors because they are not in the same situation as domestic investors. This question also arose in the context of the discussion of the transfer provisions in the investment protection chapter where the host state would want to preserve its right to require certain reports without being in contradiction of the absolute right of free transfer otherwise provided by the agreement. Article 1111 of the NAFTA was cited as a possible model to take account of these situations. The question arose whether in fact this was not a matter of "equivalent treatment" which could be included in the context of national treatment.
3. In situations where the state needs to ensure that all investors conform to its laws and regulations which are not in contradiction with the provisions of the agreement, a provision of more general application might also be needed, as in Article 5 of the Capital Movements Code. The Group could consider a provision similar to that in the Code which would apply to the whole of the agreement. If this were the preferred solution, it might obviate the need for a special provision in the transfer article or elsewhere in the agreement where there might be similar concerns.
4. Several proposals were made with the intent to narrow the scope of a public order exception. The German delegation proposed limiting the public order concept to exceptions to the national treatment principle and to make the MAI dispute settlement mechanism applicable. Japan remarked, however, that if the MAI went beyond national treatment obligations to include the concept of market access, then the broader interpretation of public order would still be necessary. The European Commission suggested a reference to the ECJ principles of proportionality and the exclusion of economic purposes as additional limitative qualifications to public order
5. Delegations in favour of including a public order exception agreed that its use should be strictly controlled. These delegations felt that the actions relating to public order would not be selfjudging and would be subject to the limitation in paragraph 4 and to the procedures in paragraph 6. France, supported by Spain, stated that these limitations and procedures should apply in the same way to other general exceptions and that all general exceptions should be treated in the same way in relation to the applicability of the dispute settlement mechanism.
Paragraph 4 would apply to all exceptions in this article. It is another way of formulating the obligation that parties must be in good faith when invoking this article and cannot avail themselves of it as a pretext for not complying with their obligations under the agreement. A good faith obligation already exists in international law and the United States has concerns that by restating it in the agreement, we may create a different standard. Some delegations thought it might be useful to follow the ECT (Article 24) and GATS (Article XIV) provisos that public order or other general exceptions must not constitute a disguised restriction or that they are invoked without proper justification. This paragraph could be considered to have the effect of allowing a party which had reason to believe that another party had made improper use of this article to challenge such use as contrary to the objectives of the article. A decision on paragraph 4, in the opinion of several delegations, would have to wait until such time that consideration of paragraphs 2 and 3 had been completed.
The content of this paragraph would need to await a discussion of the role of a "Parties Group". The requirement to notify measures is intended to facilitate transparency and to promote consistency in the manner that MAI Parties might apply the general exceptions provisions. Some delegations thought that the 1991 clarification by the CIME that "measures taken for economic, cultural or other reasons should be identified as such and should not be shielded by an excessively broad interpretation of public order and essential security interests..", might also assist the Parties in applying these provisions.
1. Most delegations were in favour of providing for a mechanism for consultation/dispute settlement. It would be understood that entering into consultations would not prejudice the right of either Party to invoke the other procedures of the agreement to which it might be entitled. The question remains whether paragraph 4 provides an objective standard which, if violated, can give rise to an actionable cause.
2. Paragraph 6 could be adapted depending on how parties wish to proceed. There are several options which can be considered:
a) actions relating to any of the provisions of this article could be subject to consultations (as provided for in the article or by reference to the consultations procedures of the agreement), and to the dispute settlement provisions of the agreement to the extent that the provisions are not entirely self judging;
b) actions relating to any of the provisions of this article could be subject to consultations (as provided for in this article or by reference to the consultations procedures of the agreement), to the exclusion of recourse to the dispute settlement provisions of the agreement;
c) actions relating to the public order provisions of paragraph 3, could be subject to consultations (as provided for in this article or by reference to the consultations procedures of the agreement), and to the dispute settlement provisions of the agreement.
3. In the view of the United States, any dispute settlement mechanism provided in the MAI would be rendered superfluous by the selfjudging nature of the general exception provisions. This delegation also questioned whether it would be necessary to provide a specific consultation mechanism in this article separate from the general consultation mechanism of the MAI.
4. Whatever the procedure agreed for general exceptions, it will have to be considered in the context of the MAI provisions on the role of the Parties Group and the dispute settlement procedures.
TRANSACTIONS IN PURSUIT OF MONETARY AND EXCHANGE RATE POLICIES
1. Most EG5 delegations wanted to consider this issue further, including in particular whether the transactions referred to in paragraph I should be explicitly limited to: 1)open market transactions in government securities; and 2) foreign exchange intervention transactions. Some delegations considered that there should be a broad carve-out for activities conducted in pursuit of monetary or exchange rate policies by a central bank or monetary authority.
2. The Group also considered a text which would preserve the freedom of the monetary authority to decide not to carry out transactions with foreign non-residents but which would prevent the monetary authority from discriminating against resident (established) foreign investors when choosing the counterpart of a transaction. This text would be added at the end of paragraph 1. It would read as follows: "... with investors or their investments which are not legal persons constituted or organised under the applicable law of the Contracting Party or with natural persons who do not have the nationality of, or who are not permanently residing in the Contracting Party in accordance with its applicable law". Some delegations considered that such an addition would not be appropriate. Other delegations wished to reflect further on this matter.
3. One delegation asked whether restrictions on the sale of financial instruments to non-residents hails under the above provisions or under the temporary safeguard clause (see below). In response, it was said that under the above provisions the monetary authority would be free to determine whether or not to sell instruments to non-residents, while restrictions imposed by the authorities on the sale by residents other than the monetary authority to non-residents should fall under the safeguard clause.
1. Some Delegations questioned the need to allow for a derogation from National Treatment.
2. In paragraph I a), the words "and external financial difficulties" can be found in the GATS. It is understood that inclusion of these words narrows the scope of the safeguard clause. A few delegations wished to review further the meaning of the phrase "and external financial difficulties."
3. Belgium reserved its position, on the role of the Fund with respect to paragraph l(b).
4. Some delegations wished to review further the relationship between this safeguard clause and the Fund Articles of Agreement because an extension of the Fund's jurisdiction is under consideration.
5. Regarding paragraph 3 a), the Fund representative proposed that there should be flexibility in the timing of reviews, for example, for countries implementing a Fund-supported programme, in orde. to coincide the review under the MAI safeguard article with a scheduled review by the Fund's Executive Board of the policies under the programme.
6. In paragraph 5 c), the United States suggested that decisions by the Parties Group to approve or disapprove a measure shall be made by consensus minus one.
7. Concerning paragraph 7, Denmark proposed an alternative text which reads:
"The provisions of this Article cannot be invoked with regard to direct investment, proceeds from the sale or liquidation of a direct investment, compensation from expropriation and from strife, returns on direct investment and unspent earnings of personnel engaged from abroad in connection with an investment". Many Delegations preferred to delete paragraph 7 entirely so as not to qualify the scope of the safeguard article.
8. With respect to panel consultations with the Fund in the context of Dispute Settlement, the Fund representative proposed inclusion of the following text:
"If the dispute concerns Article A (Temporary Safeguards) or Article B (Obligations in the Fund), the panel shall consult with the Fund and accept its decisions as to consistency of the measures with its Articles of Agreement and its assessments made under paragraph[s] 1 [and 2] of Article A. It was agreed that this proposal needs to be discussed.
1. Comments made during the informal consultations on financial matters on 14-15 April.