Op-ed: Suddenly, the world’s biggest trade agreement won’t allow corporations to sue governments
September 17, 2019: AFTINET Convener, Dr Pat Ranald, has published an op-ed in the Conversation today about progress in RCEP negotiations after Malaysia’s trade minister Datuk Darell Leiking revealed that Malaysia and each of the other 15 parties to the RCEP negotiations had agreed to exclude ISDS provisions from the deal. Dr Ranald argues that the tide is turning against ISDS, with the decision to exclude ISDS from the RCEP showing that concern is growing about the risks of including ISDS provisions in trade agreements.
In the Australian context, the government’s apparent agreement to remove ISDS provisions from the RCEP raises questions about why it is continuing to pursue such provisions in the Indonesian and Hong Kong trade deals currently being reviewed by the parliament’s joint standing committee on treaties. It also raises the question of whether Labor, the Greens and the Centre Alliance, each of which has has policies opposing ISDS, will support the agreements when committee reports on them in mid-October.
However, Dr Ranald also warns that concerns remain about other provisions in the RCEP agreement, including proposals for longer monopolies for medicines that would delay the the availability of cheaper medicines and would have the worst impacts in developing countries.