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.
Various points of interest emerged during the discussions around the negotiation and ratification of this Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and after three years of its provisional implementation, it is a good time to revisit these issues.
Important decisions on the European-Canadian free trade agreement CETA will shortly be taken on EU institutional and Member State level. On this occasion, Canadian and European experts of civil society shed light on the most controversial aspects of the agreement. They conclude that CETA in its present form threathens public welfare on both sides of the Atlantic, referring among other areas to investor-state dispute settlement, agriculture and energy policy.
Pia Eberhardt, Blair Redlin, Cecilia Olivet, Lora Verheecke
19 September 2016
The Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is much less known than its US-EU counterpart, TTIP, but this report exposes how it still poses a serious threat to governments efforts to protect citizens and the environment.
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.
Cecilia Olivet, Natacha Cingotti, Pia Eberhardt, Nelly Grotefendt, Scott Sinclair
19 April 2016
The European Commission says that its new investment proposal –the Investment Court System - will protect governments' abilities to regulate on crucial matters such as public health and environmental protection. But analysis of five of the most controversial arbitration cases in recent years shows they could still be launched under the current proposal.
Alexander Kravchuk, Zakhar Popovych, Roeline Knottnerus, Daniel van Heijningen
31 March 2016
On 6 April 2016, the Netherlands voted in a referendum on the EU’s Association Agreement (AA) with Ukraine. The referendum was a special democratic event – 427,939 signatures of citizens were collected to make it possible. With a turnout of 32.2%, just above the 30% threshold, the vote was valid. The deal was rejected by 61.1% of votes, compared with 38.1% in favour.
Countries around the world have reached a critical moment in the fight against climate change. Last year, hundreds of thousands of people marched in the streets demanding climate action, more than 190 countries reached a climate agreement in Paris, and renewable energy became more affordable and accessible to communities across the globe. Meanwhile, in sharp contradiction to that, countries negotiated new trade deals that would empower fossil fuel corporations to undermine the exact climate and conservation policies that are needed to tackle the climate crisis.
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.
This infographic illustrates some dimensions about why we believe the World Economic Forum is fundamentally about increasing corporate profits and rewarding political elites rather than “improving the state of the world.” It is an undemocratic, unaccountable and illegitimate institution that, far from improving the world, has over decades reinforced the global crisis of inequality, poverty, and environmental destruction.
Climate change action demands moving to an energy system based on renewables and leaving fossil fuels in the ground. International investment agreements, and particularly ISDS, stand in the way of energy transition. They limit the ability of governments to set the terms of their energy policy, including the support of renewable energy. Investment agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will further empower corporations to challenge strong government action on climate change
Seattle to Brussels Network (S2B), Cecilia Olivet, Marc Maes, Pia Eberhardt, Natacha Cingotti, Ante Wessels, Burghard Ilge, Peter Fuchs
27 November 2015
The European Commission unveiled a draft text for a chapter on investment protection and investor to state dispute settlement – now called the Investment Court System - to be included in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the US. This new system would replace the existing investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism not only in TTIP but also in all ongoing and future EU investment negotiations.
The aggressive agenda of services corporations, with regards to TTIP and CETA, pushes for far-reaching market opening in areas such as health, cultural and postal services, and water, which would allow them to enter and dominate the markets. Those in charge of EU trade negotiations are rolling out the red carpet for the services industry, with CETA and TTIP reflecting the wishlist of corporate lobbyists.