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.
August 10, 2018: The ABC reports that until recently, Australia had been free of the deadly white spot prawn disease which is harmless to people but has the potential to wipe out both farmed and wild prawns. Quarantine border checks were intended to prevent the disease from being imported in raw prawns.
August 9, 2018: The Canadian mining company Bear Creek recently won an ISDS case against Peru and was awarded US$37 million in compensation and costs. The government had refused a mining license because the company had not sought full and informed consent from indigenous people, resulting in mass protests against the mine in 2011. AFTINET has been using this case as an example of how ISDS can undermine indigenous rights.
August 3, 2018: 49 community organisations have written to ALP parliamentarians asking them to vote against the TPP-11 implementing legislation.
July 31, 2018: The twenty-third round of the 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership talks over 10 days in Bangkok managed to resolve two more chapters, one on customs procedures and trade facilitation and one on government procurement. This means only four out of twenty chapters have be agreed, but there is still pressure to complete the deal by the end of the year.
Media Release: July 30, 2018: “AFTINET will present evidence today to a Senate inquiry that the TPP-11 increases corporate rights at the expense of people’s rights and the environment and should not be implemented,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.
July 25, 2018: The US Trump administration is escalating its America First strategy of using its power as the world’s strongest economy to get more benefits for US corporations from individual trading partners, in the hope of domestic political advantage in the mid-term Congressional elections due in November 2018. But there are long-term consequences for the global economy and the global trading system.
July 23, 2018: As RCEP negotiators meet in Bangkok, Leena Manghaney from Doctors without Borders (MSF) writes in the Bangkok Post that, after six years and 23 rounds of negotiations, Japan and South Korea are still proposing stronger monopolies in addition to the standard 20 year monopoly for new medicines.
July 20, 2018: The Jakarta Post reports that an expert study by the Trans National Institute has found that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade talks between 16 Asia-Pacific countries* since 2012 have failed transparency and public participation tests. The international assessment finds there has been a failure to release draft texts, no independent social economic and environmental impact assessments and corporate interests have had privileged access to influence negotiations while members of Parliament and the public do not have such access.
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.