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Indonesia’s Bold Strategy on Bilateral Investment Treaties: Seeking an Equitable Climate for Investment?

  • David PRICE (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

This paper examines the recent decision by the Indonesian government to terminate its Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with the Netherlands when it expires on 30 June 2015. It discusses the likely driving forces behind Indonesia’s decision, and its alternative future strategy. In particular, it focuses upon controversial provisions on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) universally included in BITs. While Indonesia’s termination may appear of minor consequence at first glance, it has significant implications in terms of Indonesia’s obligations under international law as well its capacity to exercise its rights as a sovereign state to act domestically in the public interest. The termination of Indonesia’s first investment treaty containing the ISDS mechanism is also highly symbolic because it represents the first step in a reported strategy to review all its sixty-seven BITs. Indonesia thus joins a growing number of countries concerned about perceived excessive corporate rights enshrined in investment agreements as being incompatible with national development objectives.

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Associate Professor, School of Law, Charles Darwin University, Australia.

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1. Kingdom of the Netherlands Embassy in Jakarta, “Termination of Bilateral Investment Treaty” (undated), online: Kingdom of the Netherlands Embassy in Jakarta <http://indonesia.nlembassy.org/organization/ departments/economic-affairs/termination-bilateral-investment-treaty.html> [Netherlands Embassy in Jakarta].

2. “Boediono Meets with Netherlands PM” Jakarta Post (24 March 2014), online: Jakarta Post <http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/03/24/boediono-meets-with-netherlands-pm.html> [Jakarta Post].

3. President YUDHOYONO Susilo Bambang, “Introductory Plenary Meeting of the Cabinet” President’s Office (28 June 2012), online: President’s Office <http://www.presidenri.go.id/index.php/fokus/2012/ 06/28/8068.html>.

4. International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), “Database of Bilateral Investment Treaties” (1 August 2014), online: ICSID <https://icsid.worldbank.org/apps/ICSIDWEB/resources/ Pages/Bilateral-Investment-Treaties-Database.aspx>. This may be a conservative figure if the fifty-seven BITs (as distinct from the widely reported sixty-seven BITs) which the ICSID database lists for Indonesia are an indication. Of those fifty-seven listed, twenty have not entered into force. However, ICSID cautions that its data is reliant upon information provided by governments.

5. Transnational Institute Press Release, “After South Africa, Indonesia Takes a Brave Decision to Terminate Its Bilateral Investment Treaty with the Netherlands” (24 March 2014), online: Transnational Institute <http://www.tni.org/pressrelease/after-south-africa-indonesia-takes-brave-decision-terminate-its-bilateral-investment> [Transnational Institute Press Release].

6. HURT Stephen, “Why South Africa has Ripped Up Foreign Investment Deals” The Conversation (17 December 2013), online: The Conversation <http://theconversation.com/why-south-africa-has-ripped-up-foreign-investment-deals-20868>.

7. Jakarta Post, supra note 2.

8. Transnational Institute Press Release, supra note 5.

9. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Business and Investment Advisory Committee, “Investor-State Dispute Settlement: An Essential Element of Investment Protection” (January 2015), online: OECD <http://biac.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/BIAC-Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement.pdf>; see also Aziz CHOUDRY, “Bombarded by Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreements” Bilaterals.org (3 March 2004), online: Bilaterals.org <http://www.bilaterals.org/IMG/pdf/Bombarded_by_Bilatera_92909-2.pdf>.

10. European Federation for Investment Law and Arbitration (EFILA), “A Response to the Criticism Against ISDS” (May 2015), online: EFILA <http://efila.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/EFILA_in_response_to_the-criticism_of_ISDS_final_draft.pdf>. The EFILA report also examines what it identifies as the eleven major criticisms of ISDS.

11. United States Trade Representative (USTR), “Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)” (undated), online: USTR <https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/fact-sheets/2015/march/investor-state-dispute-settlement-isds>.

12. Choudry, supra note 9; but see also Simon LESTER, “Responses to Some Criticisms on ISDS”, The Conversation (20 May 2015), online: The Conversation <http://www.cato-unbound.org/2015/05/20/simon-lester/responses-some-criticisms-isds>.

13. Choudry, supra note 9.

14. CHOUDRY Aziz, “Bilateral Trade and Investment Deals a Serious Challenge to Global Justice Movements” GRAIN (December 2003), online: GRAIN <http://www.grain.org/rights/tripsplus.cfm?id=2>.

15. ALLEE Todd and PEINHARDT Clint, “‘Evaluating Three Explanations for the Design of Bilateral Investment Treaties” (2014) 66 World Politics 47 .

16. Convention of Settlement of Investment Disputes Between States and Nationals of Other Countries, 18 March 1965, 575 U.N.T.S. 159 (entered into force 14 October 1966) [IBRD].

17. See e.g. Agreement Between the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Government of the Republic of Indonesia on Promotion and Protection of Investment, 6 April 1994, 2240 U.N.T.S. 323 (entered into force 1 July 1995), art. 10.1-4 [Netherlands BIT].

18. Ibid., art. 9.2-4.

19. UNCTAD, “Reform of Investor-State Dispute Settlement: In Search of a Roadmap”, Issues Note No. 2, June 2013 at 1.

20. UNCTAD, “Investor-State Dispute Settlement: Review of Developments in 2014”, Issues Note No. 2, May 2015 at 1 [Investor-State Dispute Settlement].

21. Ibid.

22. Ibid., at 2.

23. Ibid., at 3. UNCTAD states that the nationality of the remaining two investor claimants was unknown. The 2014 figures actually represent a reduction in the number of claims (fifty-nine new cases), but an increase in those against developing countries (fifty-three percent of all 2013 claims).

24. Ibid.

25. See van HARTEN Gus, “Who was Awarded Compensation in Past ISDS Awards” Osgoode Hall Law School, University of Toronto (28 March 2015), online: Osgoode Hall Law School, University of Toronto <https://gusvanharten.wordpress.com/2015/03/>.

26. Investor-State Dispute Settlement, supra note 20 at 5. The amount awarded was the aggregate of compensation to the three claimants constituting the majority shareholders of former Yukos Oil Company in ISDS proceedings against the Russian Federation. See Hulley Enterprises Limited (Cyprus) v. The Russian Federation, UNCITRAL, PCA Case No. AA 226, Award, 18 July 2014; Yukos Universal Limited (Isle of Man) v. The Russian Federation, UNCITRAL, PCA Case No. AA 227, Award, 18 July 2014; Veteran Petroleum Limited (Cyprus) v. The Russian Federation, UNCITRAL, PCA Case No. AA 228, Award, 18 July 2014.

27. UNCTAD, “Reform of the IIA Regime: Four Paths of Action and a Way Forward”, Issues Note No. 3, June 2014 at 3.

28. Vattenfall AB and others v. Federal Republic of Germany, ICSID Case No. ARB/12/12 (May 2012).

29. See Philip Morris Asia Ltd and The Commonwealth of Australia: Notice of Arbitration (21 November 2011), online: <http://www.ag.gov.au/Internationalrelations/InternationalLaw/Documents/Philip%20Morris%20Asia%20Limited%20Notice%20of%20Arbitration%2021%20November%202011.pdf>.

30. See Lone Pine Resources Inc v. The Government of Canada: Notice of Intent to Submit a Claim to Arbitration Under Chapter Eleven of the North American Free Trade Agreement (8 November 2012), online: <http://www.italaw.com/cases/documents/1607>.

31. UNCTAD, “Investment Policy Hub: International Investments Agreement Navigator”, online: UNCTAD <http://investmentpolicyhub.unctad.org/IIA/CountryBits/148>.

32. KNOTTERUS Roeline and van OSS Roos, “The Netherlands: A Gateway to ‘Treaty Shopping’ for Investment Protection” International Institute for Sustainable Development (12 January 2012), online: IISD <http://www.iisd.org/itn/2012/01/12>.

33. Ibid.

34. See Department of Economic Affairs, Government of India, “Model Text for the Indian Bilateral Investment Treaty” (January 2015), online: Government of India <https://mygov.in/draft-indian-model-bilateral-investment-treaty-text/> at art. 1.2 [Indian Model BIT]; see also the Free Trade Agreement Between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Republic of Korea, 8 April 2014, [2014] A.T.S. 43 (entered into force 12 December 2014), Chapter 11 [KAFTA].

35. Indonesia’s oldest BIT-style agreement was with Denmark, which was signed on 30 January 1968 and was entered into force on 2 July 1968.

36. Specifically, the Netherlands BIT of 1996 replaced Chapter 2 (arts. 4–11) and art. 25 of the 1968 Agreement on Economic Cooperation Between the Netherlands and Indonesia (which came into force in 1971).

37. Netherlands BIT, supra note 17 at art. 11.

38. Ibid., at art. 3(1) (emphasis added).

39. Ibid., at art. 2.

40. Ibid., at art. 1(1).

41. Ibid., at art. 9(1).

42. Ibid., at art. 9(2).

43. Ibid.

44. Ibid., at art. 9(4).

45. Ibid., at art. 9(3).

46. Ibid., at art. 10(1).

47. Ibid., at art. 10(2)–(3).

48. Ibid., at art. 15(1).

49. Ibid., at art. 15(2)–(3).

50. Knottnerus and van Oss, supra note 32.

51. Transnational Institute Press Release, supra note 5.

52. Netherlands Embassy in Jakarta, supra note 1.

53. See Indonesia for Global Justice (IGJ), “Indonesia Already Stopping 18 BITs” (23 March 2015), online: IGJ <http://igj.or.id/en/indonesia-sudah-menghentikan-18-bits/> [IGJ]. IGJ reports that notice has been given to eighteen countries, namely: the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia, Egypt, Slovakia, Spain, China, Kyrgystan, Laos, France, Cambodia, India, Norway, Romania, Turkey, and Vietnam.

54. See “Indonesia not Renewing 2005 Bilateral Agreement” Bilaterals.org (6 June 2015), online: Bilaterals.org <www.bilaterals.org/?indonesia-not-renewing-2005>; see also “Treaty Revisions will Not Deter Singapore Investment in Indonesia” Jakarta Globe (9 June 2015), online: Jakarta Globe <http://jakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/business/treaty-revisions-will-not-deter-singapore-investment-indonesia-minister/> [Jakarta Globe].

55. IGJ, supra note 53.

56. Jakarta Post, supra note 2.

57. Hurt, supra note 6.

58. Ibid.

59. Ibid.

60. See DONNAN Shawn and WAGSTYL Stefan, “Transatlantic Trade Talks Hit German Snag” Financial Times (14 March 2014), online: The Financial Times <http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/cc5c4860-ab9d-11e3-90af-00144feab7de.html>; see also “Germany Pledges to Stand Firm in US-EU TTIP Trade Talks” Deutsche Welle (21 March 2015), online: DW <http://www.dw.com/en/germany-pledges-to-stand-firm-in-us-eu-ttip-trade-talks/a-18332349>.

61. See CLARK Peter, “Germany Throws down Gauntlet in CETA Investor-State Negotiations” iPolitics (27 February 2014), online: iPolitics < http://www.ipolitics.ca/2014/07/27/germany-throws-down-gauntlet-in-ceta-investor-State-negotiations/>; see also Stefanie ROSSKOPF, “Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), Germany and the Transatlantic Relationship”, EUSA 14th Biennial Conference (5–7 March 2015), online: EUSA 14th Biennial Conference <https://eustudies.org/conference/papers/download/197>. Rosskopf examines the German position on ISDS in respect of both the TTIP and the CETA.

62. “Trading Our Way to More Jobs and Prosperity” Australian Government Trade Policy Statement (April 2011), online: Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade <http://www.dfat.gov.au/publications/trade/trading-our-way-to-more-jobs-and-prosperity.pdf>.

63. “SBY Frets over Int’l Arbitration” Jakarta Post (29 June 2012), online: Jakarta Post <http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/06/29/sby-frets-over-int-l-arbitration.html>.

64. Churchill Mining and Planet Mining v. Republic of Indonesia, ICSID Arbitral Tribunal Cases No. ARB/12/40 and 12/14, Decision on Jurisdiction (24 February 2014).

65. Churchill Mining Plc v. Indonesia (Jurisdiction), ICSID Arbitral Tribunal, Case No ARB/12/14/; Planet Mining Pty Ltd v. Indonesia (Jurisdiction), ICSID Arbitral Tribunal Case No ARB/12/40.

66. SCHONHARDT Sara, “British Mining Firm Sues Indonesia for Asset Seizure” Jakarta Globe (8 June 2012), online: Jakarta Globe <http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/archive/british-mining-firm-sues-indonesia-for-asset-seizure/>.

67. Pursuant to Churchill Mining and Planet Mining v. Republic of Indonesia, ICSID Arbitral Tribunal Cases No. ARB/12/40 and 12/14, Tribunal Procedural Order No. 4, 18 March 2013 [Churchill Mining].

68. For a detailed analysis of the Tribunal’s interpretation and determination on the contentious issue of Indonesia’s consent to arbitration, see NOTTAGE Luke, “Do Australia’s Bilateral Treaties Really Not Provide Full Advance Consent to Investor-State Arbitration? Analysis of Planet Mining v. Indonesia and Regional Implications” (January 2015) 12 Transnational Dispute Management 118 .

69. Churchill Mining, supra note 59 at para. 77.

70. President Yudhoyono, supra note 3.

71. Ibid.

72. For example, Rafat Ali Rizvi v. Republic of Indonesia, ICSID Case No. ARB/11/13, Award on Jurisdiction (16 July, 2013), in which the Indonesia-UK BIT of 1976 was again invoked; and Cemex Asia Holdings v. Republic of Indonesia, ICSID Case No. ARB/04/03, Award (23 February 2007), in which the ASEAN Agreement for the Promotion and Protection of Investments of 1987 was invoked.

73. See Hesham Talaat al-Warraq v. Republic of Indonesia, UNCITRAL, Final Award (15 December 2014) in which an UNCITRAL Tribunal ruled that foreign investors could bring an action against States Party to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Investment Agreement. This permitted Saudi investor al-Warraq to file a claim against the Indonesian government’s actions in nationalizing the private Indonesian Bank in which he held the controlling shareholding (and his alleged wrongful conviction for fraud and money laundering). The Tribunal subsequently decided in December 2014 that Indonesia’s treatment of Mr al-Warraq’s investment had breached the fair and equitable treatment standard, although it declined to award damages since it also found that Mr al-Warraq had himself breached the OIC Agreement.

74. “Newmont Gets Export Permit Despite Pending Smelter Fund” Jakarta Post (20 September 2014), online: Jakarta Post <http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/09/20/>; see also Cecilia JAMASMIE, “Newmont Abandons Mining Arbitration Case Against Indonesia” Mining.com (26 August 2014), online: Mining.com <http://www.mining.com>.

75. See CHATTERJEE Neil, “Indonesia’s Nationalism” Bloomberg News (22 July 2014), online: Bloomberg News <http://www.bloomberg.com/quicktake/indonesias-nationalism/>.

76. Ibid.

77. Ibid.

78. BLAND Ben, “Indonesia’s President-Elect Joko Widodo Faces Five Challenges” Financial Times (23 July 2014), online: Financial Times <http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/1acb0cd6-1217-11e4-8279-00144feabdc0.html#slide0>.

79. President Yudhoyono, supra note 3.

80. See Netherlands Embassy in Jakarta, supra note 1.

81. See EWING-CHOW Michael and LOSARI James J., “Indonesia is Letting Its Bilateral Treaties Lapse so as to Renegotiate Better Ones” Financial Times (15 April 2014), online: Financial Times <http://www.ft.com/int/cms/s/0/20c6c518-c16c-11e3-97b2-00144feabdc0.html>.

82. Netherlands BIT, supra note 17 at art. 15(1).

83. Ibid.

84. Ibid., at art. 15(2).

85. “Indonesia Terminates Indonesia-Netherlands BIT” Ashurst Singapore (April 2014), online: Ashurst <http://www.ashurst.com>.

86. OEGROSENO Arif, “Revamping Bilateral Treaties” Jakarta Post (7 July 2014), online: Jakarta Post <http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/07/07/revamping-bilateral-treaties.html>.

87. Ibid.

88. “Indonesian Update: What are the Possible Consequences of Termination of Indonesia’s Bilateral Investment Treaties?” Herbert Smith Freehills, Insights (12 May 2014), online: Herbert Smith Freehills <http://www.herbertsmithfreehills.com/insights/all-insights?q=indonesia%27s+bilateral+investment+treaties>.

89. JUWANA Hikmahanto, “Indonesia Should Withdraw from the ICSID!” Jakarta Post (2 April 2014), online: Jakarta Post <http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/04/02/indonesia-should-withdraw-icsid.html>.

90. Transnational Institute Press Release, supra note 5.

91. Ibid.

92. Quoted by BLAND Ben and DONNAN Shawn, “Indonesia to Terminate More than 60 Bilateral Investment Treaties” Financial Times (26 March 2014), online: Financial Times <http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/3755c1b2-b4e2-11e3-af92-00144feabdc0.html#axzz39h2w2z82>.

93. Netherlands BIT, supra note 17 at art. 13(1).

94. Jakarta Globe, supra note 54. See also John LUMBANTOBING, “Renegotiating the Bite of Our BITs” Jakarta Post (18 May 2015), online: Jakarta Post <http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/05/18/renegotiating-bite-our-bits.html>.

95. Oegroseno, supra note 86.

96. CROCKETT Anthony, “Indonesia’s Bilateral Investment Treaties” (Spring 2015) 30(2) ICSID Review 441 .

97. Oegroseno, supra note 86.

98. LOSARI James J. and EWING-CHOW Michael, “Pacific Rim Investment Treaty Practice: Regional Considerations-Reflective or Reactionary? Indonesia’s Approaches to International Investment Agreements and Recommendations for the Future” (January 2015) 12(1) Transnational Dispute Management at 4 .

99. Ibid.

100. Indian Model BIT, supra note 34 at art. 1.7.

101. Ibid., at art. 1.2.

102. Ibid., at art. 14.3.

103. Ibid., at art. 14.2.

104. Ibid., at art. 2.6.

105. Ibid., at art. 16.1.

106. KAFTA, supra note 34.

107. Hence KAFTA (signed April 2014) and the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) (signed 17 June 2015) both contain specific ISDS provisions with limitations whereas the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) (signed in May 2014) does not.

108. KAFTA, supra note 34 at art. 11.11.2.

109. Ibid., at Chapter 11, Annex B Expropriation, art. 5. Footnotes add that this list is non-exhaustive.

110. Ibid., at art. 11.9.5.

111. Ibid., at art. 11.7.2–3.

112. ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA), 26 February 2009 (entered into force 29 March 2012), online: <http://www.asean.org/resources/publications/asean-publications/item/asean-comprehensive-investment-agreement>.

113. Agreement Establishing The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), 27 February 2009, [2010] A.T.S. 1 (entered into force on 1 January 2010) at arts. 18–28; see also Herbert Smith Freehills, supra note 88.

114. Ibid.

115. Juwana, supra note 89.

116. Indonesia, Investment Law No. 5 of 2007, art. 32(4).

117. UNCTAD, supra note 19 at 2.

118. UNCTAD, supra note 27 at 3.

119. Ibid.

120. ALLIX Mark, “Dutch Unfazed by SA’s Cancelled Trade Treaty” Business Day (17 July 2014), online: Business Day <http://www.bilaterals.org/?dutch-unfazed-by-sa-s-cancelled>.

121. Ibid.

122. UNCTAD, World Investment Report 2015, Country Fact Sheet, South Africa (24 June 2015), online: UNCTAD <http://unctad.org/sections/dite_dir/docs/wir2015/wir15_fs_za_en.pdf>.

123. Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), “Domestic and Foreign Direct Investment Realization Steadily Increased, Beyond the Annual Target of 2014” (25 January 2015), online: BKPM Press Release Investment Activity Report <http://www3.bkpm.go.id/contents/news_detail/221801/Press+Release%3A+2014>. (FDI into Indonesia increased from Rp71.2 trillion to Rp 78.7 trillion, exceeding Indonesian government targets for the period.)

124. “Indonesia Election Results may Improve Opportunities for Foreign Investors” The National Law Review (10 July 2014), online: The National Law Review <http://www.natlawreview.com/article/indonesia-election-results-may-improve-opportunities-foreign-investors>.

125. See CHATTERJEE Neil, “Widodo Shows Protectionist Side as Indonesian Vote Looms” Bloomberg News (6 June 2014), online: Bloomberg News <http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-06-05/indonesia-frontrunner-adopts-protectionist-views-as-vote-nears.html>.

126. Ibid.

127. “Indonesia Terminated 18 BITs” Indonesia for Global Justice (IGJ) (16 March 2015), online: IGJ <http://igj.or.id/en/indonesia-terminated-18-bits/>.

128. Ibid.

129. AMIANTI Grace, “Govt Revises Investment Treaties” Jakarta Post (12 May 2015), online: Jakarta Post <http://m.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/05/12/govt-revises-investment-treaties.html>.

130. LUMBANTOBING John, “Renegotiating the Bite of Our BITs” Jakarta Post (18 May 2015), online: Jakarta Post <http://m.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/05/18/renegotiating-bite-our-bits.html>.

131. Jakarta Globe, supra note 54.

* Associate Professor, School of Law, Charles Darwin University, Australia.

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