Lora Verheecke, Pia Eberhardt, Cecilia Olivet, Sam Cossar-Gilbert
24 June 2019
Multi-billion dollar lawsuits bleeding cash-strapped nations, corporations reversing victories by environmental defenders and dazzling financial rewards for investors who perpetrated human rights abuses. Ten investor-state lawsuits which have been filed, threatened or decided since 2015, from all over the globe (in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America), demonstrate that ISDS is again and again used as a corporate weapon against the public interest. This report exposes the true nature of the ISDS regime through 10 recent stories.
This report focuses on the significant threats to precautionary environmental, labour, consumer and public health policy from regulatory cooperation and “good regulatory practices” chapters within the EU-Canada Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), US–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), and the currently parked EU-U.S Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
This week, representatives of around 100 countries are meeting in New York to talk about investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). ISDS is a legal instrument that multinationals can use to sue governments for billions. External experts and observers fear that the new negotiations will amount to ‘old wine in new bottles’. They believe that those who benefit from this instrument (powerful states and top lawyers from the ISDS sector) are controlling the debate.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a mega regional trade deal involving sixteen nations from Asia-Pacific. RCEP will impact the lives of billions of people, from the quality of the food they eat to the energy they consume and the affordability of life-saving medicines. Yet, RCEP negotiations are being conducted almost completely in secret, with limited to no meaningful public participation. Most elected officials have, at best, limited access to the negotiating texts, which remain out of reach for civil society.
The incorporation of labour, environmental and sustainable development provisions in the EU’s free trade agreements (FTA) has been much debated. But are the overall objectives of these FTAs truly compatible with a meaningful approach to labour rights, environmental protection and sustainable development? If not, what are these provisions actually doing?
This statement has been developed jointly by Indonesian and European civil society organisations, who believe that an EU-Indonesia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) must first of all be approached as a means to serve the public interest.
What drives the negotiations for an Indonesia-Europe Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in relation to investment? What would be the merits of the alternative investment protection frameworks as proposed by Indonesia? Will it be more effective in promoting a more equitable and sustainable development?
How fair is the investment arbitration system in Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries? Are investor-state disputes balanced between national and corporate interests? LAC countries are among the most affected by the investment arbitration system, representing 28.6% of all known investor-state disputes around the world. In particular, Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru account for 77.3% of the total number of claims against LAC countries. Analysis shows that the system so far heavily favours corporate interests. Investors have won in 70% of the cases brought against LAC countries. As a result, LAC States have already had to pay foreign companies 20.6 billion USD, which could cover Bolivia’s budget for health and education for four whole years.
Transnational Institute (TNI), Institute for Policy Studies
25 January 2017
The Institute for Policy Studies and Transnational Institute welcome the Dutch trade minister’s call for a reset of trade negotiations to better link the trade and investment agenda to equitable and sustainable development objectives. At the same time, we urge all stakeholders involved in the EU-Mexico FTA negotiations to replace the current far-reaching liberalisation and deregulation agenda with an agreement that regulates investment in accordance with human rights, social standards, environmental protection, climate conservation and other sustainable development objectives as overriding principles. Read the letter, which includes our concerns and recommendations, below:
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.
Cecilia Olivet, Kat Moore, Sam Cossar-Gilbert, Natacha Cingotti
08 December 2016
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal under negotiation between 16 Asian countries would grant corporations exclusive rights to sue governments at international tribunals. This report reveals that investors have launched 50 lawsuits at secret international arbitration tribunals against governments negotiating the RCEP agreement for a total of at least $31 billion US dollars. These lawsuits provide a warning of the potential high costs of the proposed RCEP trade deal. RCEP will deepen the rights of investors and lock in place this system of privatised justice.