As the signing of the EU-Myanmar Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) draws near, concerns over the secrecy surrounding the agreement’s negotiations and the risks it poses abound, alongside many myths about its potential benefits.
On 16 May, Ecuador became the fifth country to terminate all its Bilateral investment treaties (BIT). Why did it make this decision? TNI researcher Cecilia Olivet, and president of the Ecuadorian Citizens Commission that audited the country’s investment protection treaties, shares her insider perspective.
The Ecuadorian government announced yesterday that it will complete the process to terminate its remaining 16 Bilateral Investment Treaties. This decision is based on the recommendation of the audit commission’s 668 page report (In Spanish).
In the volatile and fragile context of Myanmar's nascent democratic reform, investment protection treaties must not be allowed to negatively affect processes that would make Myanmar more peaceful and democratic.
Civil society from Myanmar and the European Union are calling for the suspension of negotiations for an investment protection agreement between the EU and Myanmar until the European Court of Justice has ruled on the compatibility of the controversial Investment Court System (ICS) dispute settlement mechanism, with the EU Treaties.
The EU and Mexico launch negotiations for a ‘modernised’ Free Trade Agreement. A key feature is the investment protection chapter which grants major multinational companies in Mexico and the EU the exclusive right to challenge democratic decisions taken by States, even when they were taken in the public interest. The report outlines six reasons of major concern.
Cecilia Olivet, Jaybee Garganera, Farah Sevilla, Joseph Purugganan
24 May 2016
Mining firms have been one of the main corporate sectors worldwide to take advantage of investor-state dispute mechanisms to sue states for regulation of mining, having sued governments for a total of USD 53 billion so far. The Philippines, one of five countries worldwide with the highest overall mineral reserves, has a web of investment treaties which severely constrain the government's ability to regulate or close polluting mines. This legal straitjacket will become even tighter if the EU–Philippines Free Trade Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) proceed.
Representatives of the governments of Austria, France, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands (AFFGN) tabled a proposal, in April, to establish “a multilateral agreement among the [EU] Member States […] which would replace and supersede pre-existing intra-EU BITs”. With this proposal, all EU investors would effectively be able to sue any member state at an international tribunal when they feel government regulations have undermined their (future) profits. This proposal undercuts the very basis of the European Union and is the best example of how the EU has become a vehicle for business rights at the expense of democracy.
Tax Live - Het Transnational Institute (TNI), een internationaal onderzoeksinstituut op non-profitbasis uit Amsterdam, stelt dat een procedure, waarbij bedrijven overheden kunnen aanklagen, een effectieve bestrijding van belastingontwijking door multinationals in de weg staat.
SP - Het lek voor belastingontwijking dat in TTIP en andere handelsverdragen blijkt te zitten, is de zoveelste ramp in een rampzalig dossier. Dat stelt de SP, naar aanleiding van een rapport van het Transnational Institute (TNI) en Global Justice Now dat gisteren verscheen. Weliswaar maken landen in handelsverdragen expliciete voorbehouden over belastingkwesties, maar bedrijven blijken toch kans te zien om arbitragezaken aan te spannen, en zelfs te winnen.
Public Finance International - A new trade agreement proposed between the United States and the European Union could allow corporations to effectively sue governments who try to collect tax on their profits, campaigners have warned.
RTL Z - Europa heeft de jacht geopend op belastingontwijkende multinationals. Maar met een handelsverdrag als TTIP, een verdrag in wording tussen Amerika en Europa, wordt het nóg lastiger om lucratieve belastingconstructies te wijzigen, stelt de non-profitorganisatie TNI.
Sputnik - Any potential ratification of the controversial TTIP trade deal would play into the hands of large multinational corporations and threaten the ability of EU member states to crack down on tax evasion, new research has claimed.
MintPress News - 'The ability to enact effective and fair tax systems to finance vital public services is one of the defining features of sovereignty,' says Global Justice Now—one that is threatened by corporate trade deals.