Many Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) include provisions that encourage foreign direct investment by offering certain guarantees and protections to the nationals of one contracting state who make investments in another contracting state. These guarantees often include the right to resolve disputes between investors and host states through arbitration.
Most FTAs are bilateral or regional in scope. The Energy Charter Treaty, which includes significant investor protections, is unique in being an industry-specific trade agreement that is not limited by geography.
For further information about FTAs, including links to the full texts of many agreements, consult the following resources:
- U.S. Trade Agreements Resource Center
The website of the U.S. Trade Representative provides information about Free Trade Agreements to which the U.S. is a party, as well as Trade and Investment Framework Agreements, which serve as the basis for the U.S. to negotiate trade agreements with other countries. Use the U.S. Trade and Related Agreements Database to download the full texts of FTAs.
- ICSID's Other Investment Treaties Table
The ICSID website includes an extensive, though not exhaustive, table of bilateral and regional FTAs that include investor protection provisions. The FTAs are listed alphabetically. In most cases, a link is provided to another website from which you may access the full text(s) of the treaty in its official language(s).
- UNCTAD International Investment Agreements Navigator
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) maintains the most comprehensive free online database of investment treaties, including free trade agreements with investor protection provisions. Use the menu on the left side of the screen to select a country. After the page refreshes, you can display lists of all of the international investment agreements to which that country is a party. Bilateral investment treaties are displayed by default. Use the links below the country name to display other treaties with investment provisions (TIPs) or investment related instruments (IRIs).
An Advanced Search option and Country Navigator with a mapping tool also are available. For each treaty, UNCTAD provides information about its current status, date of signature, and date of entry into force. In almost all cases, a link to the full text of the treaty also is provided.