May 9, 2018: A Federal Court ruling in favour of US company Bilcon, which is seeking $500 million in damages from Canada, has prompted environmental groups to renew their calls for Canada to scrap ISDS in the NAFA renegotiation talks with the United States and Mexico.
May 8, 2018: According to an Inside US Trade report dated May 3, Investor-State Dispute Settlement is still a key issue at the current session of North American Free Trade Agreement talks between the US, Mexico and Canada. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer appears determined to opt out of ISDS provisions, while big business groups are frantically lobbying to retain them.
4 May 2018: Today, several civil society groups have released a statement criticising their exclusion from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) talks in Singapore this week.
While Transnational Corporations and business groups have been invited to discuss their interests and concerns at the Singapore round of talks, civil society groups have been silenced. The full statement, posted on bilaterals.org, is copied below.
April 30, 2018: Celebrated French economist Thomas Picketty’s response to the ‘shock’ of Trump’s trade policy, calling for all new trade agreements to address inequality and climate change, has been republished as Trump intensifies his trade war this week.
May 3, 2018: The AFTINET submission to the Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement is available to read in full here, and summarised below. The JSCOT report is due on August 22, 2018, after which Parliament will consider the implementing legislation. Our assessment is there is insufficient information for support the implementing legislation.
Relationship between PAFTA and the TPP-11
3 May, 2018: AFTINET's full submission to the Joint Committee and Senate inquiries into the TPP-11 is available here, and summarised below. The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties is due consider submissions, hold public hearings and report on August 22, but the government may attempt to cut short the process. The Senate inquiry is accepting submissions until May 31, and is due to report on September 18. Parliament will then vote on the implementing legislation.
April 23, 2018: ANU academic Dr Kyla Tienhaara has published research in the Journal Transnational Environmental Law showing that mining and energy industries are the most frequent users of Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanisms heard by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investor Disputes (ICSID), one of the two main tribunal systems that hear ISDS disputes. This poses a threat to effective measures to rapidly reduce carbon emissions.
20 April, 2018: Colombia’s decision to ban mining activities in the Páramos, a range of environmentally sensitive wetlands that provide approximately 70% of the country’s water supply, has so far led to three treaty-based arbitration cases from three different mining investors, under the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.