International Treaties and Local Statutes

This page presents major international treaties and local statutes that create a stable and predictable regime for arbitration in New York and enforcement of New York arbitration awards.

Treaties on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards

Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention)

The 1958 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention”) is one of the key instruments in international arbitration.  The New York Convention requires all member countries’ courts to refer disputes governed by arbitration agreements concluded in foreign states to arbitration, and to recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards.  As of 2012, 147 countries had ratified the New York Convention, including the United States.

Read the text of the New York Convention.

Read ICCA’s Guide to the Interpretation of the 1958 New York Convention.

Inter-American Convention on Commercial International Arbitration (Panama Convention)

The 1975 Inter-American Convention on International Commercial Arbitration (the “Panama Convention”) is a regional treaty that generally replicates the New York Convention and has been ratified by 16 countries within the Americas, including the United States.

Read the text of the Panama Convention in English or Spanish.

Additional Treaties Creating Rights and Obligations to Arbitrate

Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes Between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID or Washington Convention)

The International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (“ICSID”) was established by the 1965 Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (the “ICSID” or “Washington Convention”), a multilateral treaty among over 140 countries, including the United States.  The primary purpose of ICSID is to provide procedures and facilities for the conciliation and arbitration of foreign investment disputes.

Read the text of the ICSID Convention.

Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs)

Bilateral investment treaties (“BITs”) are agreements between two countries that establish guarantees for the protection of foreign investments in each other’s territories by nationals of their respective countries.  The protections guaranteed in BITs often include the right to resolve disputes between foreign investors and the host country in arbitration.  There are currently more than 2,500 BITs in force, involving most countries in the world.  The United States is a party to approximately 40 BITs.

A searchable compilation of about 1,800 BITs is provided by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) is a multilateral treaty among Canada, Mexico and the United States.  NAFTA, Chapter 11 provides guarantees similar to those found in BITs for the protection of foreign investments by nationals of the treaty parties.  Chapter 11 obligates each country to resolve disputes with these foreign investors in arbitration.

Read the text of NAFTA, Chapter 11.

Energy Charter Treaty

The 1994 Energy Charter Treaty is a multilateral treaty among over 40 countries that establishes guarantees similar to those found in BITs for the protection of foreign investments by nationals of the treaty parties, including the resolution of foreign-investment disputes in arbitration.  The United States has not signed the Energy Charter Treaty.

Read the text of the Energy Charter Treaty.

United States and New York Statutes Governing Arbitration

The U.S. Federal Arbitration Act

The U.S. Federal Arbitration Act is the principal law in the United States that addresses the authority of U.S. courts in relation to domestic and international arbitration agreements, proceedings and awards.  Any arbitration seated in New York that involves interstate or international commerce is likely to be governed by the FAA.  The FAA codifies the United States’ ratification of the New York and Panama Conventions.

Read the text of the FAA.

New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR), Article 75—Arbitration

N.Y. Civil Practice Law and Rules (“CPLR”), Article 75 is the State of New York’s principal law on the authority of the State’s courts with regard to arbitration agreements, proceedings and awards.  Article 75 may be applicable to any arbitration seated in New York to the extent it is not pre-empted by the terms of the FAA.

Read CPLR Article 75.