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The European Energy Charter Treaty

The signatories of the European Energy Charter (The Hague, 17 December 1991) undertook to agree an Energy Charter Treaty which would place the commitments contained in the Charter on a secure and binding international legal basis. Some 50 States have signed the Charter, inclu...

The signatories of the European Energy Charter (The Hague, 17 December 1991) undertook to agree an Energy Charter Treaty which would place the commitments contained in the Charter on a secure and binding international legal basis. Some 50 States have signed the Charter, including the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and the three Baltic States as well as the European Union and the Interstate Economic Committee for the ex-USSR. The 12 ex-USSR Republics also signed individually. Following discussions at the first European Energy Charter Conference of 7-11 March, the Treaty is now substantially agreed and is expected to be concluded in the first half of 1994. It seeks to promote conditions for cooperation between Western and Eastern energy organizations, to bring about a cycle of economic activity which will act as a catalyst for economic recovery in Eastern Europe and the former USSR. It's aim is the progressive liberalization of international trade and investment, the avoidance of discrimination and the alleviation of market distortions and barriers to competition. The Treaty is also intended to remove technical, administrative and other barriers to trade in energy materials and products and related equipment, technologies and services. Such trade between contracting parties shall be governed by the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades (GATT) and related instruments. Each signatory shall endeavour to promote conditions for access to its capital market on the part of its own companies and nationals and those of the other Contracting Parties, consistent with existing international agreements. To this end, Articles of the Treaty cover investment promotion and protection, compensation for losses, and freedom of transfer relating to investments. The Contracting Parties also agree to promote access to and transfer of technology on a commercial and non-discriminatory basis, to assist effective trade and investment. In addition, environmental aspects of the energy cycle are taken into account, including the decommissioning of energy installations and waste disposal, with each Party striving to minimize harmful environmental impacts and to take precautionary measures to prevent or reduce environmental degradation according to the principles of sustainable development. A permanent Charter Conference and Secretariat shall be established to ensure that the Treaty is implemented and to provide a forum for future East-West energy discussions.

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