Earlier this month, Washington and Lee law professor Susan Franck went straight from teaching her International Commercial Arbitration course to fly to South Korea. But this time her students were government officials and other representatives from members of APEC–the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
In connection with the Free Trade Agreement Asia Pacific (FTAAP), APEC countries came together in Seoul to participate in a workshop designed to build capacity and foster policy debates related to dispute resolution under international trade and investment treaties. Professor Franck presented her research to representatives from Brunei Darussalam, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, and Viet Nam who were in Seoul to learn more about how to prevent, manage and resolve international economic disputes. She primarily focused upon the empirical analysis of investment treaty arbitration and paid particular attention to reality-testing conventional wisdom on investment treaty arbitration with a unique focus on the experience of APEC to help government officials consider how best to manage their disputes and negotiate their treaties.
Highlights of the presentation related to a detailed assessment of the identity of foreign investors making claims and whether and how those investors were reliably linked to outcomes. The presentation also provided specific assessment of APEC-related risk for investment treaty arbitration. While the data demonstrated that APEC states are relatively standard respondent states — particularly in terms of types of investors bringing claims and the ultimate outcomes — there were a few variations related to industrial sectors involved and the location of claims that suggested that APEC states should take a careful and strategic approach to treaty negotiations.
Her designated commentators were Professor Joung-Wook Hwang of the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Korea and Mr. Jaywang Huang, from the office of Trade Negotiations for the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Chinese Taipei.