Media Release 8 November 2018: “AFTINET welcomes the Labor Opposition initiative to revisit the Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement (PAFTA) because it includes foreign investor rights to sue governments (ISDS) which the Shadow Trade Minister has pledged to oppose in all trade agreements,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.
ISDS allows foreign investors to sue our Government
Investor-State Dispute Settlement
7 November 2018: George Kahale III, an internationally recognised expert on ISDS, in the keynote speech to an investment arbitration conference in Prague, has described the system as a ‘weapon of legal destruction’.
Media release 31 October 2018: “The Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET) has joined more than 300 civil society groups to urge governments at United Nations meetings in Vienna this week to completely overhaul the controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system contained in trade agreements like the TPP-11, which the Australian government has just ratified.
29 October 2018: AFTINET welcomes the announced review of the Peru-Australia trade agreement (PAFTA), which shares with the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP-11) many harmful provisions.
4 October 2018: Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in trade deals enable foreign investors to bypass national courts and sue governments in international tribunals if they can argue that a change in law or policy has harmed their investment.
The revamped NAFTA agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada, now called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, will phase out ISDS between the US and Canada altogether after three years. The deal also limits the scope for ISDS cases between the US and Mexico to cases of direct government takeover of assets.
20 September 2018: Yet another country has rejected the undemocratic and non-transparent practices of international arbitration as a method for resolving investor-state disputes (ISDS). There is growing rejection of the inclusion of ISDS in trade agreements like the TPP.
As reported in The East African, Tanzania’s National Assembly on September 17 passed the Public Private Partnership (Amendment) Bill (2018), put forward by Attorney General Adelardus Kilangi.
September 13, 2018: On August 30, 2018, a 3-person ISDS panel sitting in The Hague ruled that Ecuador’s judicial system had no right to deal with a claim for damages brought by indigenous communities against the Chevron oil company for pollution of the Amazon and damage to the health of local communities by its subsidiary, Texaco, in the period 1964-92.
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.
July 16, 2018: AFTINET has previously reported on decisions in 2017 and 2018 by the European Court of Justice which found that foreign investor rights to sue governments in international tribunals (ISDS) was incompatible with national sovereignty and EU law. This means the European Parliament cannot decided to ratify agreements containing ISDS, and that each national government has to vote on ratification of agreements if they contain ISDS. These decisions followed strong European public opposition to ISDS.
July 2, 2018: Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick last Friday succeeded in obtaining the total legal costs to Australia of defending its tobacco plain packaging laws in the case brought by Philip Morris tobacco company against the Australian Government under investor-state dispute settlement provisions.