South Africa Overhauls its Investment Treaty Regime

By Sean Woolfrey | Briefing Paper # 14 | December 2013

In November 2013, the South African government introduced Promotion and Protection of Investment Bill as part of an overhaul of the regulatory framework for foreign investment. Based on its review of bilateral investment treaties, the South African government has already terminated many of its existing BITs. Unlike the bilateral treaties, the proposed Bill provides no obligations regarding ‘fair and equitable treatment’ to foreign investors and excludes recourse to international arbitration. After examining various provisions of the proposed legislation, the author concludes that the investment policy overhaul should be commended…

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Whither India’s Bilateral Investment Treaty Framework?

By Kavaljit Singh | Briefing Paper # 15 | December 2013

In the light of several notices invoking provisions of India’s bilateral investment agreements and demanding billions of dollars in compensation, the Indian government decided to put ongoing BIPA negotiations on hold and initiated a review of its model BIPA. The briefing paper critically examines the ongoing review process conducted by bureaucrats with no transparency and wider public consultation. The paper suggests a number of key policy recommendations concerning the design and implementation of a model BIPA. India needs to learn lessons from South Africa which has fundamentally changed its…

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Should India Ease Entry Rules for Foreign Banks?

By Kavaljit Singh | Briefing Paper # 13 | November 2013

On October 12, Raghuram Rajan announced that the Reserve Bank of India will soon issue new rules allowing a more liberal entry of foreign banks in India. While examining the past performance of foreign banks in India, the author contends that the key issue is not xenophobic hostility towards foreign banks but their niche business model devoid of social and developmental banking. Several big international banks including JPMorgan, HSBC and UBS have recently paid billions of dollars in regulatory fines for their alleged role in Libor rate fixing, money…

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The NSEL Payment Crisis: The Price of Poor Regulation and Supervision

By Neeraj Mahajan and Anil Tyagi | Briefing Paper # 12 | October 2013

The nearly $1 billion payment crisis at the unregulated National Spot Exchange Ltd is possibly the biggest scandal in the Indian commodity markets of this decade spawned by the combination of a lackadaisical regulatory regime, greedy promoters and easily pliable bureaucrats and politicians. The NSEL payment scandal is a classic case of the failure of regulation and supervision of Indian commodity markets, argue the authors.

Surprisingly, the NSEL has been functioning as an unregulated commodity exchange for the past many years. It is only after the crisis that the commodity…

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Why is the Indian Rupee Depreciating?

By Kavaljit Singh | Briefing Paper # 11 | September 2013

The Indian rupee touched a lifetime low of 68.85 against the US dollar on August 28, 2013. The rupee plunged by 3.7 percent on the day in its biggest single-day percentage fall in more than two decades. Since January 2013, the rupee has lost more than 20 percent of its value, the biggest loser among the Asian currencies. There is no denying that India is not the only emerging market experiencing a rapid decline in its currency’s value. Several emerging market currencies are also experiencing sharp depreciation over the prospect…

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