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Foreign Investment Law & Nationality Planning

Maximize Return on Investment from Emerging Markets

Minimizing political risk helps maximize your return on investment. Coups, elections, investigations, revocations, expropriations, and heavy-handed regulatory changes—each endangers your investment, market profile, and shareholder value. As your strategic advisor, Vinson & Elkins can help you prepare for the worst. When the worst does happen, we will advocate on your behalf to resolve the dispute.

Proactively Planning for Your Protection

We help you align tax and corporate objectives to select the optimal investment protection structure available. This involves looking at available investment protection treaties and structuring your investment accordingly. However, successful treaty planning looks beyond the treaty text itself. It requires accounting for host states’ foreign investment laws, which can offer another layer of protection. It also requires understanding how an arbitration tribunal would decide a case based on your chosen investment structure. Because V&E lawyers regularly argue cases before investment-treaty tribunals, our structures for your investment account for that reality.

If you have a direct contract with a state, we can advise on stabilization and other contractual investment protection arrangements, and develop dispute resolution agreements.

Advocating Your Case

Investor-state disputes develop over time. A good advocate helps you manage your relationship with government authorities, regulators, and state actors to try to maintain a commercially viable investment. However, if necessary, our advocates can prosecute or defend your case.

V&E’s arbitration lawyers are experienced in prosecuting and defending investment treaty claims all over the globe and across all the major industry sectors. Our breadth of experience and our geographical spread combine to offer you the best possible outcome when an investment dispute arises. Managing commercial risks is your business. Navigating political risks is ours.

Experience Highlights

  • Successfully represented El Paso International Company defending against Argentina’s application to annul the ICSID award in El Paso’s favor; the annulment was dismissed affirming our client’s award

  • Represented two investors in linked arbitrations against a Southeast Asian State — one under a bilateral investment treaty (ICSID Rules) and one under a multilateral investment agreement (UNCITRAL Rules); the claims arise out of an investment in the banking sector

  • Represented two upstream investors in Ecuador in connection with government attempts at forced conversion of PSAs on four blocks to service contracts, and in relation to expropriatory tax legislation, and advising under production sharing agreements and relevant bilateral investment treaties

  • Represented a U.S. company bringing claims against the Republic of Ecuador under an Ecuador-United States bilateral investment treaty; the claims resulted from state interference in the claimant’s operation of two power barges

  • Representing consortia of international and domestic companies in two arbitrations arising out of a hugely successful oil field offshore India in connection with a series of profit sharing disputes with the Government of India; these are collectively valued at just short of $1 billion, and have spawned significant satellite litigation in the courts of both India and Malaysia

  • Acted for the Republic of Poland in a claim brought by Eureko BV under the Netherlands-Poland bilateral investment treaty. The dispute arose out of the cancellation of the second phase of privatisation of a large insurance company

  • Representing a foreign investor in India’s 2G licensing round in connection with contractual and investor-state claims made under the relevant license and bilateral investment protection treaty resulting from the state’s cancellation post-award of 22 mobile telephony licenses and failure to refund license fees or pay compensation

  • Represented a North American investor in LCIA arbitration against Armenia over breach of investment agreement and BIT claims

  • Represented a UK investor in a claim to be brought in respect of an upstream oil and gas project against an East European State under the terms of its foreign investment law

  • Representing investors in expropriation and unfair treatment claim against the Republic of Costa Rica under the Dominican Republic – Central America Free Trade Agreement (“DR-CAFTA”)