BIT by bit

In a mostly well-meaning assorted list of suggestions for a new government, the Times of India manifesto struck an odd note with a rather specific suggestion:

Ink investment treaty with US: India should complete a bilateral investment treaty with US as well as pitch for a place in the Trans Pacific Partnership. This will be important in the future because the global trading system is evolving into smaller arrangements. [Link]

As to how this rather specific suggestion got into a laundry list of ‘must do’ items for a new Indian government, I shall leave each one of you to come up with your own reasons. That this item should enter that list of proposals for a new government despite such overwhelming arguments against it – primarily due to the severe circumscription of public policy that it entails – should raise eyebrows.

Interestingly, thanks to tweets by Kevin Gallagher of Boston University, I came across this news-item:

Indonesia has informed the Netherlands that it has decided to terminate the Bilateral Investment Treaty (official title: Agreement between the Government of the Republic Indonesia and the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on Promotion and Protection of Investment) per July 1, 2015.

From that date onwards the provisions of the Agreement will continue to apply only to investments made prior to that date, for a period of fifteen years. The Indonesian Government has mentioned it intends to terminate all of its 67 bilateral investment treaties. The Netherlands is discussing the matter with the Indonesian authorities. [Link]

It is going to be interesting to see how the West ‘disciplines’ or ‘punishes’ for its ‘rash’ act. Just to re-state the obvious, I do not see the decision as ‘rash’ nor as one that is deserving of disciplining and punishment, etc.


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