The number and the length of international investment agreements have dramatically increased since the early 1990s. This makes it more difficult to analyse their content. Text-as-data methods can help to better manage the growing complexity of IIAs, but modern computational methods require the existence of machine-readable texts. While several databases make IIAs texts available, they are generally optimized for reading, but not computational analysis.
The Electronic Database of Investment Treaties (EDIT), is a new systematic and comprehensive database on international investment agreements (IIAs), including available texts in one single language (English) and format (XML), which allows to search information out of them with more detail, as well as do annotations on their text, including metadata, as well as automated and manual labelling by categories.
This webpage is a free service by the World Trade Institute – University of Bern, and it has been developed during the implementation of the SNIS-funded project “Diffusion of International Law: A Textual Analysis of International Investment Agreements” (2015–2017), in cooperation with the World Bank. More details about the project can be found here.
The project used texts and metadata of IIAs found in governmental webpages, as well as in open databases, notably UNCTAD’s International Investment Agreement Navigator, and transformed them into a machine-readable format that allows analysis on the article, chapter or treaty-level of IIAs texts. In the process of collecting these agreements we found some ‘missing investment treaties’ that were not available before in other databases. All IIAs that were not found in English were translated to that language, using machine and manual translation of treaties.
For the purposes of EDIT, an international investment agreement is a treaty concluded under international law between two or more states or economies, which, in whole or in part, contains substantive obligations to protect and/or liberalize foreign investment either generally or sector specific. This notion includes bilateral investment treaties (BITs), investment chapters of preferential trade agreements (PTAs), Regional Investment Agreements (RIAs), and Friendship, Commerce and Navigation Agreements (FCNs). This definition further excludes from its scope other types of agreements that have been included in existing databases such as public and international investment insurance schemes (e.g. OPIC and MIGA), some multilateral agreements (e.g. ICSID, Mauritius Convention, TRIMs), Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFAs) and Framework Agreements on Economic Cooperation. All available texts of IIAs are included in EDIT, regardless if they are currently in force.
Through this database, we aim to support researchers, scholars, students, practitioners, international organizations, policy-makers, civil society and other stakeholders in their work and studies concerning international investment law. The webpage is thought as an on-going collaborative effort that can involve Academia, international organizations. All users can correct or improve the data, following the Wiki model.