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South Africa annuls bilateral investment treaty with Germany

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Monday, 25 November 2013

South Africa annuls bilateral investment treaty with Germany

South Africa last week cancelled its bilateral investment treaty with Germany, one of its most important trading partners, amid protests by German businesses here. The move comes as part of South Africa’s stated intention to reshape its investment policy framework, ending bilateral treaties with individual countries. The German treaty is the fourth one with a member of the European Union (EU) to be cancelled, but it is by far the biggest and most significant.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies signalled more than a year ago that the investment treaties would be replaced by general legislation. The Cabinet last week approved the Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill but it has not yet been published.
While the cancellation of the German treaty was not a surprise, there was disappointment in EU trade circles. This was because there had been a tacit understanding that no further treaties would be cancelled until the law to replace them had been aired.
The cancellation of the bilateral investment treaties — including those with Luxembourg, Spain and Belgium — has caused jitters among investors and rating agencies. This is on fears that investor rights might not be as strongly protected in the future.

Source: Business Day Live