There has been much debate about the national and international legal frameworks regulating large-scale land deals for agribusiness investments in low and middleincome countries. Investment treaties are an important part of the international legal architecture governing foreign investment, including in agriculture.
Investment treaties aim to promote investment flows between the state parties. They establish obligations on the admission and protection of foreign investment. Most investment treaties allow investors to bring alleged violations to international arbitration (investor-state arbitration).
This report measures the geographic extent to which investment treaties protect agribusiness investments initiated as part of the recent wave of large-scale land deals in low and middle-income countries. The report draws on three research strands:
● Global-level quantitative analysis based on online databases of land deals and of investment treaties;
● A more in-depth investigation of the corporate structures relating to a subset of land deals for which contractual documentation is publicly available; and
● The analysis of publicly known agriculture-related investor-state arbitrations.
This new report complements earlier legal analysis on how international investment treaties can affect local land rights, including in the context of agribusiness investments (Land rights and investment treaties: exploring the interface).