Power of Information:

Information Clauses in Bilateral Investment Treaties

Treaties enhance international economic cooperation by generating information that would otherwise remain private to individual governments. On closer inspection, however, not all treaties are designed in the same manner: Some governments include provisions that dramatically lower the cost of access to information than others. With a focus on twenty-eight Asia Pacific countries from 1982 to 2013, this data set provides information on how governments in those states designed information-related clauses in Bilateral Investment Treaties differently.

It provides information on whether individual BITs have clauses

       - that obligate contracting parties to publish their laws or regulations which pertain to or affect the
          implementation of BITs (variable name: Publish),

       - that give a reasonable opportunity for comments by the public before the adoption, amendment or repeal

          of regulations (variable name: Publish & Comment)

       - that set up a joint committee to review relevant regulations (variable name: Review)

       - that lay legal grounds for provision of information concerning specific investment for informational or   

          statistical purposes during consultation or negotiation (variable name: Exchange)

A few highlights of the data are as follows:

 

1. Not all democracies include clauses that make publication and comment periods mandatory. Japan has adopted this practice most frequently, whereas other Asian democracies and autocracies altogether have been cautious about including those clauses.

2. Joint review committees are preferred by Japan (and other democracies such as New Zealand), whereas China has stopped including clauses that set up joint review committees starting in the 2010s.