Joint Ventures and the Law of International Claims

Joint ventures are one of the most remarkable post-World War II international business developments. Although the late Professor Friedmann noted in 1971 that they were becoming “the most important form of foreign investment in the developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America,” “only within the last two decades has the joint capital venture received more than scant attention.” Now, whether one is interested in establishing a “minority joint venture,” in which the foreign investor holds less than fifty percent of the equity in the joint enterprise and the host country the majority interest, or a “multipartite joint venture,” in which a group of international firms establishes a joint enterprise in the host country, often with the participation of private local interests or the government of that country, the available literature to which one may turn for guidance is immense. Yet, understandably in view of the rapid growth in the number and complexity of international joint ventures, many problems relevant to their use remain unaddressed. One of them – the question of when a joint venture or a participant therein, injured by the wrongful act of a foreign state, satisfies the nationality requirement for purposes of bringing an international claim – is the subject of this article.