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Dhaka Thursday,  Aug 18, 2022

Experts Opposes Entry Into Int’l Energy Charter Treaty

Bangladesh’s entry into the International Energy Charter Treaty (IECT) will bring disaster to the country’s energy sector as through this treaty Bangladesh will virtually lose its sovereign  authority to control the foreign companies operating and those who will invest in the future in the country, experts opined.

“If any dispute is created with any foreign investor, it

has to be settled through an international arbitration court and the country has to share half of the cost no matter whether it loses or wins the legal battle over the next 20 years,” Mohammad Tanzimuddin Khan, Prof at the International Relation Department of Dhaka University told this at a dialogue with journalists at Bishwo Shahitto Kendro (BSK) organized by the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) on Thursday.

Expressing serious concern over the over Bangladesh’s entry into IECT, Tanzimuddin Khan said the country signed “International Energy Charter” on May 20 in 2015

He presented a keynote tiled: Bangladesh Energy Transition Policy and Energy Charter Treaty. He said if the country wants to get out of theI ECT, it will have to wait for 20 years as its obligation will exist for the period.

He also noted, if any dispute is created with any foreign investor, it has to be settled through an international arbitration court and the country has to share half of the cost no matter whether it loses or wins the legal battle.

The International Energy Charter Treaty (IECT) is an international agreement from the mid 1990s. Investor rights apply to 53 countries stretching from Western Europea through Central Asia to Japan, plus the EU and the European Atomic Enetgy Community. It grants corporations in the energy sector enormous power to sue states at international investment tribunals for billions of dollars, for example, if a government decides to atop new oil or gas pipelines or phase out coal.

Prof Tanzimuddin said if any signatory to the ECT will have an obligation to allow foreign investment with no bar to use local resources and equipment. As a result, the local resources and equipment, despite having all efficiency, will have no use in any project in Bangladesh.

He said many countries in the world including Germany, Sweden, Hungary had to face bad experience in dealing with foreign investment after signing the ECT.

Now, they are trying to get out of the ECT to bring control on foreign investment, he added.

Taking part in the discussion, Vice president of CAB Prof M Shamsul Alam said it’s not clear if Bangladesh has approved the charter and full membership to the organization.

“If Bangladesh approves the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), it will bring disaster to the country’s energy sector as Bangladesh will virtually lose its sovereign  authority to control the foreign companies operating and those who will invest in the future in the country.”

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