Discussing the tension between states’ right to regulate and foreign investment protection in recent Colombian cases
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Investment Agreements are instruments used by states to attract foreign ventures within their borders and obtain favourable treatment to local investors in counterpart nations. States usually compromise a certain degree of sovereignty in this kind of agreements through the inclusion of legal stability agreements, stabilisation clauses, compensation for expropriation, and fair &amp; equitable treatment provisions. Within the context of this kind of agreements, the legitimate exercise of regulatory powers by states enters in conflict with the protection of foreign investors property rights when it comes to sensitive areas that have a high impact in the public interest, politics and public perception (such as human rights, health, safety, labour standards and the environment). Based on the discussion of two recent paramount cases that involve regulatory actions of the Colombian state and property rights of foreign investors (pharmaceutical ip rights vs public health interests in the first case, consolidated mining titles vs environmental protection in the second case), we identify and criticize the difficulties of defining if a governmental regulatory action is legitimate and non-compensable or if it is subject to compensation as an indirect expropriation, and the high dependence of this matter on the interpretation of arbitral tribunals.