Do BITs really promote foreign direct investment?

While bilateral investment treaties purport to help “host” states attract foreign direct investment from “home” states, Sarita Patil Woolhouse of the UK’s Anglia Ruskin University says an analysis of FDI flows and hundreds of ICSID cases suggests that the routes taken by investments are driven not by the origin of capital but by tax considerations, and that states may therefore only need to sign BITs with a handful of tax havens.

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