On 30 September 2010, Qatar signed the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of other States (the ICSID Convention) to become the 156th signatory State, affirming Qatar’s commitment to international cooperation in terms of promoting and protecting economic development through the settlement of investment disputes between States and nationals of other States.
Following Qatar’s subsequent ratification, on 21 December 2010, the ICSID Convention will become fully in force in Qatar later this month (20 January 2011).
Qatar joins the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon as Middle East signatories to the ICSID Convention.
But what is the ICSID Convention and what further rights can it grant to investors? In the Middle East region in particular, where the perception is that enforcement of contractual rights can be problematic and/or time-consuming, it is important that international companies understand the further, and valuable, protection which the ICSID Convention and applicable bilateral investment treaties (BITs) can provide for many different types of investment in the region.
The aim of this briefing therefore is to give a concise explanation of
- the history and purpose of the ICSID Convention;
- the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes;
- what Bilateral Investment Treaties (or BITs) are, including:
- their typical structure;
- the types of investment they are intended to protect;
- the further protections and legal rights which they typically give to investors; and
- how investors can take advantage of those rights when structuring a transaction and/or making an investment.