Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Ceisteanna (24)

Holly Cairns

Ceist:

24. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if Ireland has bilateral investment treaties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6897/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Enterprise)

Ireland has no Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with 3rd Countries.

Following the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, the European Commission was conferred with the competence to act on behalf of Member States in relation to trade and investment treaties, including BITs. Therefore, Member States have not concluded BITs with 3rd countries since the adoption of the Treaty. Moreover, where the Commission has concluded investment treaties with 3rd countries, Member States’ own BITs have been superseded.

Member States with intra-EU BITs signed the Agreement for the Termination of Intra-EU Bilateral Investment Treaties in May 2020 which came into force on 29 August 2020. 10 Member States have since ratified the Agreement in their national parliaments. This termination agreement implements the March 2018 European Court of Justice judgment (in the Achmea case). Thus, pre-accession BITs between EU Member States are in the process of being terminated. Moreover, within the Union, the rules of the Single Market and competition apply.

Historically, Ireland has benefitted from very strong investment inflows, reflecting investor confidence in the Irish legal system. However, increasingly investment by overseas firms in Ireland is accompanied by investments in other EU Member States and multiple legal and redress systems in Europe can present a disincentive relevant to other competitor locations. Equally, outward investment by firms in Ireland has not generated significant demand for the adoption of bilateral agreements, but as more Irish firms scale and seek to internationalise investment protection becomes a more important concern. On behalf of the Member States, the EU now seeks to negotiate Investment Protection Agreements with 3rd Countries such as those recently concluded with Singapore and with Vietnam.

Questions Nos. 25 to 28, inclusive, answered with Question No. 23.