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17 items
  1. Juggling crises

    Cecilia Olivet, Bettina Müller
    25 August 2020
    Article

    Peru, Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia and Guatemala are just some of the Latin American countries being hit by the investment protection regime in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Foreign investors are threatening to bring claims before international arbitration tribunals due to the measures states are taking to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. Arbitrators are refusing to accept states’ requests to postpone ongoing arbitration cases and are obliging governments to disburse millions to investors at a time when public funds are required for more urgent priorities. Once again, the current crisis reveals the perverse consequences of the investor-state dispute settlement system and the urgent need to break free from it.

  2. Cashing in on the pandemic

    Pia Eberhardt
    19 May 2020
    Article

    As governments take action to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent economic collapse, big law firms are watching the virus too. Yet their concern is not to save lives or the economy. Instead the lawyers urge big business to challenge emergency measures in order to defend their profits. In a parallel corporate justice system called ISDS, states could face multi-million dollar lawsuits.

  3. Impacts of investment arbitration against African states

    • Bettina Müller, Cecilia Olivet
    08 October 2019

    By the end of August 2019, African States had been hit by a total of 106 known investment treaty arbitration claims.  This represents 11% of all known investor-state disputes worldwide. Between 2013 and 2018, there has been an unprecedented boom of claims against African governments. During these last six years, they received more investor claims than the previous 20 years combined. This paper exposes how the international investment regime affects African countries.

  4. Red Carpet Courts

    • Lora Verheecke, Pia Eberhardt, Cecilia Olivet, Sam Cossar-Gilbert
    24 June 2019
    Report

    Multi-billion dollar lawsuits bleeding cash-strapped nations, corporations reversing victories by environmental defenders and dazzling financial rewards for investors who perpetrated human rights abuses. Ten investor-state lawsuits which have been filed, threatened or decided since 2015, from all over the globe (in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America), demonstrate that ISDS is again and again used as a corporate weapon against the public interest. This report exposes the true nature of the ISDS regime through 10 recent stories.

    You can find the 10 stories online at 10isdsstories.org.

  5. Mientras la comunidad internacional se reúne para examinar el ISDS, muchos temen reformas vacías

    Alexander Beunder, Jilles Mast
    10 April 2019
    Article

    Del 1 al 5 de abril de 2019, representantes de unos 100 países se reunieron en Nueva York para hablar sobre el sistema de solución de controversias entre inversores y Estados (ISDS). El ISDS es un instrumento jurídico al que pueden recurrir las multinacionales para demandar a los Gobiernos y exigirles miles de millones de dólares. Observadores externos temen que las nuevas negociaciones se limiten a “poner vino nuevo en botellas viejas”. Consideran que quienes se benefician con este instrumento (países poderosos y abogados de élite especializados en el ISDS) están controlando el debate.

  6. As the world meets to discuss ISDS, many fear meaningless reforms

    Alexander Beunder, Jilles Mast
    05 April 2019
    Article

    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.

  7. Network analysis of DTIB screenshot

    The quiet power of the Dutch Trade and Investment Board (DTIB)

    Alexander Beunder, Jilles Mast, Bas van Beek
    16 January 2019
    Article

    For around 13 years, on the Dutch Trade and Investment Board (a body that is not familiar to most of the Dutch public) top civil servants and company lobbyists have been discussing how the government can support the country’s international trade. Minutes reveal how lobbyists and ministers collaborated in reforming fiscal and development policies in favour of private interests. It’s an example of the power of ‘quiet politics’ of company lobbyists in the Netherlands, calling into question the country’s image as an exemplar of liberal, consensual corporatism.

  8. CETA: Feiten en fabels

    • Bas van Beek, Sophia Beunder, Roeline Knottnerus, Jilles Mast, Roos van Os, Bart-Jaap Verbeek, Hilde van der Pas
    21 June 2018
    Report

    Zijn handelsverdragen als CETA werkelijk goed voor de economie en de werkgelegenheid?

  9. EU’s new trade deal with Mexico promotes CETA-style investors’ rights while ignoring human rights violations by multinationals

    Cecilia Olivet
    24 April 2018
    Article

    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).

  10. Why failing to include investment issues at WTO should be celebrated

    13 December 2017
    Press release

    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.

  11. WTO promotes same investors rights that have cost Latin American and Caribbean states 20.6 billion USD so far

    12 December 2017
    Press release

    As Trade Ministers from 164 countries meet in Buenos Aires, Argentina this week for the 11 World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial conference,
    the Transnational Institute has published a new report that analyses the 234 known investment arbitration lawsuits against Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) states.

  12. A World Court for Corporations

    • CIEL, Seattles to Brussels Network
    05 December 2017
    Report

    The European Commission proposal for a global investor court for investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) – known as the Multilateral Investment Court – threatens to enshrine, expand, and entrench the current system of corporate privilege in future trade deals. A world court for corporations would be the capstone in the architecture of corporate impunity, undermining democratic institutions and lawmaking, and worsening the power imbalance that grants rights, protections, and compensation to corporations at the expense of the public interest.

  13. The EU’s Multilateral Investment Court and its alternatives

    22 September 2017 - Event

    Last year the European Commission announced plans to establish a Multilateral Investment Court (MIC) in its attempt to reform the investment  arbitration system, known as ISDS. However, the proposal has received little public scrutiny so far. Now five civil society organisations are  organising a public event with international experts to discuss the MIC and examine alternative approaches.

  14. Human Rights as a Key Issue in the Indonesia-EU Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement

    • Rachmi Hertanti
    07 September 2017
    Report

    This paper explores the potential impacts of an Indonesia-EU CEPA on human rights in Indonesia and the state’s duty to protect human rights.

  15. 50+ civil society organisations ask for halt to EU-Mexico trade talks

    30 June 2017
    Press release

    Trade talks between Mexico and the EU commenced this week as efforts intensify to update a free trade agreement signed in 2000. Serious concerns about transparency, human rights, and investor obligations saw more than fifty civil society organisations from Mexico and the EU articulate their concerns[1] in a letter demanding a halt to negotiations until certain criteria are met.

  16. The Hidden Costs of RCEP and corporate trade deals in Asia

    • Cecilia Olivet, Kat Moore, Sam Cossar-Gilbert, Natacha Cingotti
    08 December 2016
    Report

    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.

  17. Who really won the legal battle between Philip Morris and Uruguay?

    Cecilia Olivet, Alberto Villarreal
    28 July 2016
    Opinion

    The tobacco giant has to pay $7m to the small South American nation in a dispute over cigarette adverts. But the case could still set a worrying precedent