Thursday, September 29, 2011
The United States Senate approved the United States-Rwanda Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) on September 26 by unanimous consent. The US State Department believes the "treaty demonstrates Rwanda’s commitment to the economic reforms that will help enable sustainable economic development and opportunity.". According to the US State Department, "Since the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has made remarkable progress in implementing economic reforms that have helped rebuild the Rwandan economy and society. Rwanda has opened its economy, improved its business climate, and embraced open trade and investment policies as a means to boost economic development, job creation, and poverty alleviation."
BITs establish rules that protect the rights of investors in the signatory countries and provide market access for private investment in the territory of the treaty partners. The purpose of BITs is also to support market-based policies and best practices that treat investment in an open, transparent, and non-discriminatory way.
The US Administration has announced that it is working on an update of the U.S. “model” or "boilerplate" BIT, which will serve as a framework for future BITs. In the meantime, the State Department and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which co-lead the U.S. BIT program, are continuing technical talks with their current negotiating partners, including China and India.