Invest pacts can’t be subject to foreign jurisdictions

Canadian Prime Minister  Stephen Harper
Canadian Prime Minister
Stephen Harper

TORONTO: Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram has made it clear that any bilateral investment protection agreement has to be subject to jurisdiction of domestic legal institutions and India will not allow it to be subjected to foreign courts or tribunals.

“We cannot allow the highest court of the land to be subjected to any foreign courts or tribunals,” Chidambaram said during a question answer session at a breakfast meeting organized by the Canada-India Business Council (C-IBC) here.

“Will you allow the Supreme Court of Canada be subject to jurisdiction of any other court or tribunal?” Chidambaram asked the audience.
The Minister was answering a question from Peter Sutherland, President and CEO of the Canada-India Business Council, who wanted to know the status of bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA) treaty.

The Minister said, “We have put Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA) on hold not only for Canada but other 83 countries too because of two major legal issues: namely right of a foreign investor to sue a sovereign State in a commercial dispute, and jurisdiction. All agreements are under review.”

However, he assured the audience that both the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and FIPPA would become a reality soon.

Referring to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to India in November last year, Chidambaram said that India and Canada have longstanding bilateral relations, built upon shared traditions of democracy, pluralism and strong interpersonal connections with an Indian Diaspora of more than one million in Canada.

This expanding bilateral relationship received further momentum in the past three to four years and was supported by a wide range of agreements between the two countries. -PTI

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