Enforcing transboundary water obligations through investment treaty arbitration: China, Laos and the Mekong River

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Abstract

The study of the intersection between international investment law and international water law is not new. However, this intersection may be better understood through the analysis of specific case-studies, regions and/or economic sectors. This article observes the relationship between China and Laos in connection to the construction of dams in the Lancang/Mekong River. In so doing, it addresses China’s attitudes towards the negotiation and conclusion of economic integration and transboundary water agreements, observing a sharp contrast between the two. Against this background, the article examines some of the most important agreements between China and Laos regarding both the protection of foreign investment and the management of shared waters. The article argues that investor-State dispute settlement may lend some ‘teeth’ to the enforcement of transboundary obligations with regard to the Mekong River.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-453
JournalReview of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law
Volume29
Issue number3
Early online date1 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2020

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