There is much rethinking being done about investment treaties. While some level of uniformity existed when there was institutional direction by the World Bank and hegemonic pressure exerted by states in the Global North, geopolitical power is now shifting in ways that are producing greater diversity in approaches to the field. The evidence seems to indicate that each state that is of sufficient size or power will seek to fashion its foreign investment policy in the context of its own circumstances. This is certainly true for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (the BRICS). Within this group of newly industrializing countries, it is clear that a uniform approach to investment treaties will not emerge, despite avowals to the contrary. In this essay, I offer an assessment of the divergent paths some of these states have taken. I contend that China has emerged as a newly hegemonic actor in international investment in a way that undermines its traditional role as champion for the Third World, and that India's recent attempt to develop a “balanced approach” to investment treaties is unworkable. Only South Africa has developed an approach that seeks to protect its government's ability to serve the goals of its people by subjecting foreign investment disputes to South African law and courts.
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