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?
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.
A push by 39 WTO members, including China, Russia, the EU, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico to reintroduce formal discussions on investment facilitation at the 11th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial conference has failed.
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.
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.
The U.S. and India should not sign a treaty that will only serve the short-term interests of large corporations, and undermine the authority of governments to protect their people from financial crisis.
Over 120 European, Canadian and International Civil Society organizations commend Chancellor Kern's concern on Canadian Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and ask for his vote against the ratification of the agreement.
Cecilia Olivet, Timothé Feodoroff, Pia Eberhardt, Emma Lui, Stuart Trew
13 May 2013
As European Union (EU) member states consider the implications of environmentally risky shale gas development (fracking), negotiations are underway for a controversial EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) which would grant investors the right to challenge governments’ decision to ban and regulate fracking.
To tackle the climate crisis we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground. But governments that phase out coal, end gas production, or stop oil pipelines can be sued by corporations in private courts and be held liable for billions in damages. How? Under the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). It is now up to European governments and the European Commission to pull out of the anti-climate ECT and stop its expansion to even more countries. Take action today to make this happen!
The current development model in place across Colombia has brought repression and harassment. The government has not fulfilled the terms of a 2013 agreement. On May 27th, the Cumbre Agraria, Campesina, Etnica y Popular1 called for a national Minga - a period of strikes and mobilizations - across Colombia to put pressure on the government.
Spearheaded by the current President of the UN General Assembly Miguel D´Escoto Brockmann, the UN Conference on the Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impacts on Development took place from June 24-26, 2009.
The Mexico-EU FTA after seven years in force shows how the objectives that were announced during negotiations and that it purportedly promoted were nothing more than rhetoric in light of the evidence of economic and social impacts it has caused.
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: