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Columbia University study finds ISDS costs outweigh benefits for many governments

August 14, 2018: A recent study published by the Columbia University Centre for Sustainable Investment evaluates the costs and benefits for states of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in trade and investment agreements. It concludes that expected benefits in terms of increased levels of foreign investment have not clearly materialized, whereas the costs have been unexpectedly high.

Global support for Peruvian Indigenous leader following ISDS case against indigenous land rights

August 9, 2018: The Canadian mining company Bear Creek recently won an ISDS case against Peru and was awarded US$37 million in compensation and costs. The government had refused a mining license because the company had not sought full and informed consent from indigenous people, resulting in mass protests against the mine in 2011. AFTINET has been using this case as an example of how ISDS can undermine indigenous rights.

RCEP talks make small progress in Bangkok, while resistance grows

July 31, 2018: The twenty-third round of the 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership talks over 10 days in Bangkok managed to resolve two more chapters, one on customs procedures and trade facilitation and one on government procurement. This means only four out of twenty chapters have be agreed, but there is still pressure to complete the deal by the end of the year.

Explainer: Where is the Trump trade war heading and what’s the alternative?

July 25, 2018: The US Trump administration is escalating its America First strategy of using its power as the world’s strongest economy to get more benefits for US corporations from individual trading partners, in the hope of domestic political advantage in the mid-term Congressional elections due in November 2018. But there are long-term consequences for the global economy and the global trading system.

Expert study condemns secrecy as RCEP talks resume in Bangkok

July 20, 2018: The Jakarta Post reports that an expert study by the Trans National Institute has found that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade talks between 16 Asia-Pacific countries* since 2012 have failed transparency and public participation tests.  The international assessment finds there has been a failure to release draft texts, no independent social economic and environmental impact assessments and corporate interests have had privileged access to influence negotiations while members of Parliament and the public do not have such access.

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