AFTINET supports Termination of Indonesia-Australia 1993 Investment treaty but criticises corporate rights to sue governments

June 8, 2020 The AFTINET submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties inquiry into the termination of the 1993 Indonesia-Australia  investment treaty  supports the termination of the treaty, including termination of its 15-year survival clause. However it maintains  our analysis that trade agreements should not give to global corporations  extra legal rights to sue governments in unfair international tribunals,known as Investor-State Disputes Settlemment or ISDS.

The submission explains that  new Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive partnership ratified last year has a version of ISDS with more procedural safeguards and excludes cases against public health regulation. however it does not exclude cases against other areas of public interest regulation like the environment or workers’ rights, which would cost governments years and millions of dollars to defend. the 1993 investment treaty had no procedural safeguards or exclusions at all, and should have been terminated when the new agreement was ratified.

The  submission also draws attention to the dangers of ISDS cases against actions taken by governments during the pandemic, and recommendations on  how governments can act to avoid such cases.