We know what we have to do to solve the climate crisis. We must keep coal, oil and gas in the ground. But the fossil fuel industry has a secret powerful weapon to keep cooking the planet: The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). It is on the brink of a massive geographical expansion into Africa, Asia and Latin America, threatening to bind yet more countries to corporate-friendly energy policies. Visit: www.energy-charter-dirty-secrets.org
This weekend, the European Commission announced that the negotiations with Mexico to "modernise" their Free Trade Agreement have been concluded. A key feature of the “modernisation” process is the inclusion of a controversial investment protection chapter with the same characteristics as the one recently included in the Canada-EU trade agreement (CETA).
Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries are among the most affected by the investment arbitration system worldwide, representing 28.6% of all known investor-state disputes around the world. In particular, Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru accounts for 77.3% of the total number of claims against LAC countries. 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.
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.
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.
(Quito/Amsterdam, 3 May 2017) A unique international audit commission that examined the benefits and costs of Ecuador’s investment protection treaties will publish its findings on Monday 8 May. The report is to be released 5 days after Ecuador’s National Assembly recommended the government to terminate 12 remaining Bilateral Investment Treaties.
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.
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.
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.