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.
The Transnational Institute condemns the last minute decision to block dozens of civil society experts and campaigners from next week's World Trade Organisation summit in Argentina. The decision, apparently made by the Argentinian Government for undisclosed reasons, is unprecedented in recent WTO history.
Hyderabad/Amsterdam, July 20. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is being negotiated in Hyderabad, India this week (July 22). If signed, RCEP would grant corporations the exclusive right to bypass domestic legal systems and sue States at international tribunals whenever they feel government regulation can limit their profits. India is already the target of 40% of all cases filed against RCEP countries. The country also tops the ranking with regard to financial claims: India has been sued for at least 12.3 billion USD by foreign investors since 1994.
The Ecuadorian Citizens’ Commission for a Comprehensive Audit of Investment Protection Treaties and of the International Arbitration System on Investments (CAITISA) was set up by the Ecuadorian goverment to audit the country's investment treaties and make recommendations to the government.
The commission was comprised of government officials, academics, lawyers and civil society groups, including the foremost expert on investment law, Muthucumaraswamy Sornarajah and the former Attorney General for Argentina, Osvaldo Guglielmino. Our own TNI researcher Cecilia Olivet was nominated president.
In May 2017, the Commission's report was published and its recommendations to terminate the country's Bilateral Investment Treaties accepted by the government.
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).
(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.
In an astonishing move which ignores the opinion of millions of citizens who oppose ISDS, the governments of Austria, France, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands (AFFGN) have made a sly attempt to institutionalise ISDS throughout the European Union. According to a leaked non-paper, on the 7th April representatives of these five nations made a proposal to the EU Council’s Trade Policy Committee which would in effect create a plurilateral treaty based on foreign investment protection within the EU. A move which was suspiciously followed by publication of a similar proposal on Business Europe’s website in what appears to have been a coordinated action.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed free trade agreement, in negotiation, between the United States and the European Union. Its proponents claim that the agreement will benefit consumers with lower prices, increased competition and more jobs.
However, very little of the TTIP deals with trade; the vast majority of the agreement relates to government regulations and will therefore have huge implications in matters such as food sovereignty, digital rights and the environment. It will limit the capacity of governments and local groups to regulate and increase the capacity of transnational corporations to act with impunity. TNI’s focus for TTIP and other free trade agreements is on the investment chapter, and particularly the problems caused by Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms that allow corporations to sue governments for actions that affect their profits.
Investment protection mechanisms give corporations the right to sue states if they take any measures – including public interest legislation – that might threaten profits. Wellknown versions of this is the Investor state-dispute mechanism (ISDS) which after rising controversy and critisism has been replaced by the Investment court system (ICS). Investment protection mechanisms are included in most new FTAs. Nevertheless, several governments are starting to reconsider their commitments to it as they recognize the danger that it poses to their sovereignty. TNI has produced extensive research highlighting how investment protection gives corporations far-reaching rights that curtail governments’ sovereignty and drain limited public budgets. It has also revealed the big stakes the legal industry has in these mechanisms.
As the European Parliament drafts its opinion on the controversial TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) talks, 375 civil society organisations from across Europe have called on EU decision-makers to protect citizens, workers, and the environment from the threats it poses.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a proposed free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. The negotiations for CETA concluded on August 1, 2014, but its completion and ratification is expected to take at least two years, due to the number of parties involved. Many sections of the agreement have been severely criticised, in particular its Investor-State Dispute Settlement processes (ISDS) and its likely negative implications for the environment.
Netherlands/Jakarta, 14 November 2014 - The announcement on November 13th of a US-India agreement on trade facilitation and India’s food security programme was denounced today by Transnational Institute and Serikat Petani Indonesia (SPI), the Indonesian Peasant Union Federation as a “victory for transnational corporations at the expense of peasant farmers.”
Amsterdam, 12-9-2014 - Een verzoek voor de lancering van een burgerinitiatief rond TTIP en CETA is op 10 september door de Europese Commissie afgewezen. De Europese Commissie weigert het initiatief te registreren omdat het buiten de bevoegdheden van de Commissie zou vallen. Maatschappelijke organisaties, waaronder TNI en SOMO, vinden dat de Commissie zeggenschap van burgers ondermijnt en roepen de nieuwe Commissie op om dit besluit terug te draaien.
Despite promises made during the negotiation process, the multiparty trade agreement between the EU, Colombia and Peru has not helped to improve the living conditions of the Colombian population. On the contrary, conflicts linked to export sectors and EU investment have continued and, in some cases, worsened.