On May 8, 2009, Canada's International Trade Minister, Stockwell Day, announced that Canada and Romania has signed an updated Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (FIPA) (Canada's version of a bilateral investment treaty).
The existing Canada-Romania FIPA entered into force in 1997 and was developed under the NAFTA model. The new FIPA has been updated to comply with EU law and to include a number of improvements requested by Canada. The new FIPA includes new clauses for environmental, health and other safety standards and greater transparency during investor-to-Government investment arbitration.
The environment provisions create an interesting dilemma as evidenced by the NAFTA Chapter 11 cases. The environmentalists and liberal constituencies want enhanced environmental provisions in FIPAs and free trade agreements. They have a good point in that they do not want North American businesses to move to foreign jurisdictions in order to take advantage of more lax environmental standards. However, as Canada and the United States have learned, the investor-to-Government dispute settlement mechanism allows private parties to challenge environmental regulations if they affect an investment of the party in one of the territories. The results are not necessarily what is intended by the environmental movement.
Canada currently has 23 FIPAs in force, of which six are with EC countries.
For more information about Canada's FIPAs, please contact Cyndee Todgham Cherniak at 416-307-4168.
To download a copy of the amended Canada-Romania FIPA, please go to the following link - http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/assets/pdfs/RomaniaFIPA-eng.pdf