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Parliamentary questions
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29 August 2019
E-002587-19
Question for written answer E-002587-19
to the Commission
Rule 138
Oscar Lancini (ID) , Tom Vandendriessche (ID) , Jörg Meuthen (ID) , Roman Haider (ID) , Isabella Tovaglieri (ID)

 Subject:  South Africa's Bilateral Investment Treaties
 Answer in writing 

Over the last decade, the South African Government has cancelled numerous Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with EU Member States. These BITs provided protection against the expropriation of investor property without compensation. The investor protection guaranteed by these BITs will cease after 10 to 15 years (sunset clause) — in certain cases this will happen as soon as 2022.

In July 2018, the South African Protection of Investment Act entered into force to replace BITs. The South African Government is currently also in the process of reforming national legislation and the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of all types of property without compensation. The Protection of Investment Act stipulates that new investment treaties will be subject to the South African Constitution and national legislation. In other words, investor property may be expropriated without compensation. The Act further stipulates that disputes between the State and investors must be resolved by South African tribunals, rather than through international arbitration.

1. Does the Commission intend to endorse and promote investment in accordance with this new framework for bilateral investment in South Africa?

2. What steps will the Commission take to protect EU investors once the sunset clauses in the cancelled BITs expire?

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