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.
Geocide is the collective action of a single species among millions of other species which is changing planet Earth to the point that it can become unrecognisable and unfit for life. But we still have a chance; human beings can overcome even threats as terrifying as geocide, says Susan George.
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.
Demands for tax justice have resounded worldwide, with growing anger at the tax practices of corporations such as Google and Starbucks. Yet trade and investment agreements are already constraining the ability of governments to impose fair tax deals and with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) this could become worse.
Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries find themselves at a crossroad regarding their investment protection policies with the US. This briefing provides evidence that shows that including investment arbitration in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will worsen the capacity for CEE governments to regulate.
For a TTIP resolution that puts people, the environment and democracy before short-term profit and disproportionate corporate rights. 375 civil society organisations from across Europe call on EU decision-makers to protect citizens, workers, and the environment from the threats it poses.
The case of Newmont Mining vs Indonesia is a powerful example of how investment agreements are used by companies to get exemptions from government regulations and legislation, undermining democracy and development.
In March 2014 the European Commission received the negotiation mandate from the EU member States to start negotiating an Investment treaty with Myanmar. But what do BITS mean in practice? Is it in the best interest of the Myanmar public?
Civil society organisations are writing to express deep concerns about the lack of transparency around the ongoing trade talks on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). They call on The European Commission to open the negotiation process to the public, by releasing the negotiating mandate, documents submitted by the EU, and negotiating texts.