Govt starts exercise for model text for BIPA negotiation
New Delhi: The government is preparing a new model text to negotiate bilateral investment and protection agreements (BIPA) and review the existing ones.
The BIPA review talks, which have been put on hold following arbitration notices from foreign companies to recover investments, will be resumed after finalisation of the model text.
In a communication to different ministries, including Commerce and Industry and Petroleum, the Department of Economic Affairs has said that the government has decided to review the text of BIPA in the light of arbitration notices received under different BIPAs.
"Therefore, pending review of the model text, all BIPA negotiations have been kept on hold. The government will proceed to negotiate BIPA agreements expeditiously once the review is complete," the communication has said.
An official in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) said that they have started the exercise for preparing the new model text.
"Recently a Canada-based institute has given us a presentation on such agreements. We will have more such presentations. We will consult all the stakeholders," the official told PTI.
Several global telecom firms, which had lost their 2G licences following a Supreme Court judgement, have slapped notices on the government citing breach of bilateral investment protection pacts.
Besides Sistema and Telenor, Mauritius-based investors in Loop Telecom have slapped notices on the government under bilateral investment protection treaties, after the Supreme Court cancelled their telecom licences.
While these investors in Indian telecom companies were aggrieved about cancellation of their licences by the Supreme Court, Vodafone sent a separate notice to the government against amending the Income Tax Act with retrospective effect.
"Our template for BIPA negotiations needs to be relocked. We are facing lots of litigations. The government will review all the BIPAs," the official added.
The objective of BIPAs is to promote and protect the interests of investors of either country in the territory of other nation.
Such agreements increase the comfort level of the investors by assuring a minimum standard of treatment in all matters and provides for justifiability of disputes with the host country.
India has so far signed BIPAs with 82 countries, of which 72 including that with Russia, Germany, the UK and the Netherlands have already come into force and the remaining agreements are in the process of being enforced.