Tuğba Karagöz: A Universal Regime of Investment Protection and Foreign Investment Insurance

A Universal Regime of Investment Protection and Foreign Investment Insurance

Tuğba Karagöz

This paper analyses the operation of foreign investment insurance with reference to the debates over a universal regime of investment protection. Foreign investment insurance offers protection against political and social instabilities, violence in different forms, direct or indirect expropriation that are traditionally associated with developing countries. Most public insurers, notably the US government agency Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) do not provide insurance to countries that are classified as “developed”. This paper opens to question the hypothetical operation of foreign investment insurance among developed countries by focusing on two aspects of the investment protection regime. The first of these aspects is the notion of political risk, i.e. the extent of investment protection. Political risk has been so far perceived largely as a phenomenon of developing countries that suffer from political instability and lack of rule of law. Nevertheless, recent developments have demonstrated that political risk—as it is generally understood—may as well be relevant to developed countries that adhere to the rule of law and strong protection of property rights. The second aspect concerns the debates over the alternative forms of investment dispute resolution. Foreign investment insurance has long been compared to international arbitration as an alternative means of investor-state dispute settlement. Similar debates have been raised in the context of investment agreement negotiations between developed countries. By disclosing the legal relationships and power dynamics embedded in the investment insurance arrangements, this paper argues that the current legal regime in which public investment insurers operate would be challenged if foreign investment insurance becomes applicable in developed and developing countries alike.

Tugba Karagöz is a doctoral candidate at Goethe University Frankfurt and research assistant at Julius Maximilians University of Würzburg, where she also teaches Turkish Constitutional Law. She holds an LL.M. from the University of Lausanne in the field of international and European economic and commercial law.Tugba Karagöz’s field of interest is international investment law. She engages disputes over the protection of foreign investment and its impacts on domestic as well as international law- and policy-making. Her recent research explores how foreign investment insurance works and how political risks are conceptualized by investment insurers. She focuses on the intersection of international and domestic legal systems in the operation of foreign investment insurance arrangements. Her analysis of foreign investment insurance is recently published in the Journal of World Investment and Trade.


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