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.
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.
In the 2012 report Profiting from Injustice, jointly published by Corporate Europe Observatory and the Transnational Institute, we boldly asserted that law firms, arbitrators and third-party funders have, over the past two decades, helped maintain an investor-biased arbitration system and have fuelled the rise in investor-state disputes.
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.
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.
In the midst of a raging famine in the Horn of Africa and continuing expansion of land grabbing across the Global South, a new and critical report has been released by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition, of the Committee on World Food Security.
Harold Liversage, the Land Tenure Adviser for the International Fund for Agricultural Development argues that responsible investment in agriculture is possible if voluntary guidelines are backed up by an empowered civil society.
Telecom Italia's case against Bolivia at a secretive World Bank tribunal, ICSID, heralds an increasingly pro-corporate approach against southern countries under the aegis of the EU's Global Europe project.
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.
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.
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.