On 18 January 2024, Steptoe and the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) held a launch event for their joint empirical study on performance requirement prohibitions (PRPs) in international investment agreements (IIAs) (recording and publication available here).

The main focus of this empirical study is PRPs.  PRPs are a distinct type of treaty provisions that appear in many IIAs and that seek to curtail States’ ability to impose performance requirements.

According to UNCTAD, performance requirements are “stipulations, imposed on investors, requiring them to meet certain specified goals with respect to their operations in the host country”.  Performance requirements come in the guise of either: (i) conditions precedent to that State’s authorisation for an investor to make, expand or operate an investment in its territory; or (ii) conditions for an investor receiving a State advantage (e.g., a tax credit, a subsidy or other form incentive).  Some of the most common forms of performance requirements include local content requirements, local sourcing requirements, export performance requirements, import restrictions, export controls/restrictions, and technology transfer, licensing and/or local R&D requirements.Continue Reading Industrial Policy Is Making a Comeback – With Some Investment Treaty Protections Standing in Its Way