Global Telecom Holding v. Canada: Interpreting and Applying Reservations and Carve-Outs in Investment Treaties

Joshua Paine*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Abstract

Within investment treaties, reservations and carve-outs perform a crucial role in balancing investment protection and liberalization with competing regulatory interests of States. While carve-outs for taxation matters have been interpreted and applied by a significant number of investment treaty tribunals, carve-outs concerning other issues and reservations have been adjudicated much less frequently. The recent Award in Global Telecom Holding v Canada raises several key questions of treaty interpretation concerning a reservation by Canada in the Canada–Egypt BIT, and a carve-out, which removed from investor-State arbitration decisions by either Party not to permit the establishment or acquisition of a business enterprise. This case comment critically analyses the approach to interpreting reservations and carve-outs adopted in the Award and the associated Dissenting Opinion. I suggest that it is through the application of the ordinary rules of treaty interpretation that adjudicators will locate the appropriate limits of reservations and carve-outs, and there is little justification for adopting a restrictive interpretation of such provisions. The case also demonstrates that interpretative inferences based on one treaty party’s other investment treaties must be approached with care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-547
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of International Arbitration
Volume38
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2021

Structured keywords

  • Centre for International Law
  • Centre for Global Law and Innovation

Keywords

  • reservations
  • carve-outs
  • exceptions
  • treaty interpretation
  • national treatment
  • national security

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