Community groups oppose ISDS in TPP-11 talks as US dumps ISDS in NAFTA, and NZ also says no

November 6, 2017 “The Australian Government should oppose foreign investor rights to sue governments in the talks attempting to resurrect the TPP without the US later this week,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.

The talks will take place in da Nang, Vietnam on November 8-9, ahead of the APEC meeting to be held on November 10.

“Investor-State Dispute Settlement, known as ISDS, allows foreign investors to bypass national courts and sue governments for millions of dollars in unfair international tribunals, as occurred when the Philip Morris tobacco company sued the Australian government over our public health tobacco regulation. Most TPP governments only reluctantly agreed to ISDS in the original TPP because the US insisted on it as a condition of access to US markets. With the US no longer involved it makes no sense for the Australian government to continue to support it,” said Dr Ranald

“Even the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said publicly last week that the US wants to opt out of ISDS in NAFTA, because of the risk and costs of US governments being sued by foreign corporations. This further undermines the case for including it in the TPP or any trade agreement.”

Dr Ranald added that the New Zealand Herald has reported that the newly-elected New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, said that New Zealand would not agree to ISDS at the APEC TPP11 talks.

She explained that Australian opinion polls and numerous submissions to parliamentary inquiries have shown strong opposition to ISDS across the spectrum, ranging from the Productivity Commission and former High Court Chief Justice French to public health and consumer groups, environmentalists and unions.

“The Australian Labor Party, the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team, which form a majority in the Senate, opposed ISDS, stronger medicine monopolies and other harmful TPP proposals in the Senate Inquiry Report on the original TPP legislation, which has not been endorsed by the Australian Parliament,” said Dr Ranald.

“The Australian government is isolated in its support for ISDS. We call on the government to respond to community concerns and join other governments in rejecting ISDS, medicine monopolies and other harmful TPP proposals at the upcoming meeting.”