investor-state disputes | ISDS

Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) refers to a way of handling conflicts under international investment agreements whereby companies from one party are allowed to sue the government of another party. This means they can file a complaint and seek compensation for damages. Many BITs and investment chapters of FTAs allow for this if the investor’s expectation of a profit has been negatively affected by some action that the host government took, such as changing a policy. The dispute is normally handled not in a public court but through a private abritration panel. The usual venues where these proceedings take place are the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (World Bank), the International Chamber of Commerce, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law or the International Court of Justice. ISDS is a hot topic right now because it is being challenged very strongly by concerned citizens in the context of the EU-US TTIP negotiations, the TransPacific Partnership talks and the CETA deal between Canada and the EU.


Renegotiating the bite of our BITs

18-May-2015 Jakarta Post Apart from its network of BITs, Indonesia is also a party to a number of multilateral and regional investment agreements such as the ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement which also contain an ISDS clause, including recourse to ICSID arbitration.

  • 29-Dec-2014 Aporrea
    "El Tratado de Libre Comercio con EEUU puede llevar a los países a perder su soberanía"

    Entrevista a Michael Efler: portavoz de la Iniciativa Ciudadana Europea contra el tratado entre la UE y EEUU

  • 27-Dec-2014 Le Monde
    Comment la France a laissé la voie libre aux tribunaux privés internationaux

    La timidité du gouvernement français a conduit à laisser l’Union européenne avaliser un choix qu’elle regrettera peut-être dans quelques années : l’inclusion d’un mécanisme d’arbitrage privé dans l’accord commercial CETA.

  • 25-Dec-2014 Financial Express
    Fixing BIPPA

    The definition of investment that the govt of India had agreed to while entering into BIPPAs is particularly problematic, writes Biswajit Dhar

  • 19-Dec-2014 La Dépêche
    Les anti «Tafta» chez Veolia

    C’est avec le slogan «Tafta, assez de cadeaux à Veolia» qu’une trentaine de militants du collectif Stop Tafta (qui réunit Attac, des syndicats et des partis de la gauche radicale) ont pénétré dans l’agence commerciale de Veolia à François-Verdier, hier en fin de matinée.

  • 19-Dec-2014 Huffington Post
    Elizabeth Warren: Obama trade deal could undermine Wall Street reform

    US Senator Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday warned that a major trade deal being negotiated by the Obama administration could hamstring Wall Street reform efforts.

  • 18-Dec-2014
    Why is govt in a hurry to pay TCC for Reko Diq?

    The Nawaz Sharif government is in an unnecessary haste to settle and pay millions, possibly billions, of dollars as compensation for the Reko Diq gold and copper mines to a discredited and ousted Canadian-Chilean mining consortium, a decision if made may resemble the infamous circular debt payment of Rs500 billion in the early days of the PML-N government.

  • 18-Dec-2014 BEUC
    Investor-State Dispute Settlement: The TTIP’s Achilles heel?

    A high level panel discussion on TTIP organised by BEUC, FOEE and AK Europa (video)

  • 17-Dec-2014 Economic Times
    New bilateral investment treaties will help India avoid arbitration

    Bilateral investment treaties that the government of India will enter into from now on will have a provision preventing foreign investors to drag India to arbitration on any issues that have been settled by a judicial authority.

  • 16-Dec-2014 EurActiv
    Analyst: ISDS model is Australia, not Canada

    Gus Van Harten tells EurActiv that the EU should explore the option of an international arbitration court and use Australia, not Canada as a benchmark.

  • 16-Dec-2014 La Marea
    El TTIP y la arquitectura de la impunidad

    Los principios jurídicos en los que se fundamenta el TTIP forman parte de la armadura jurídica que limita el ejercicio de la democracia y de la soberanía de los pueblos.

  • 12-Dec-2014 WEED
    Investor state dispute settlement and financial crises

    The film explains how the settlement works and why it endangers necessary governmental rescue measures in financial crises as occurred in Greece, Cypress and Argentina.

  • 12-Dec-2014 Public Citizen
    ISDS cannot be fixed

    The European Commission’s claim that threats posed by the investor-state dispute settlement system can be fixed by “improving” ISDS provisions in trade pacts has already been proved false, says Public Citizen

  • 9-Dec-2014 Le Parisien
    Libre-échange transatlantique: consultation sur l’arbitrage connue après Noël

    La Commissaire européenne au Commerce a indiqué lundi à Washington que les résultats de la consultation publique européenne sur les tribunaux d’arbitrage dans le projet d’accord de libre-échange entre les Etats-Unis et l’Europe seraient connus peu après Noël.

  • 9-Dec-2014 EurActiv
    ISDS clause: a gateway to future trade deals

    Trade officials negotiating the ISDS arbitration clause within the EU-US trade agreement have half an eye on their next deals, since the wording is likely to shape other key trade treaties on the table.

  • 7-Dec-2014 FFII
    Seven things you should know about EU-Singapore ISDS

    Lock-in, no institutional safeguards for independence, perverse incentives, no separation of powers, automatic consent, ripe for exploitation, sovereign debt instruments included, open to the world, and a strategic mistake. Former trade commissioner De Gucht left us a Gordian Knot, writes Ante Wessels.

  • 5-Dec-2014 Rebelión
    TTIP: Un ataque a la democracia y al derecho a decidir

    Este acuerdo es conocido como TTIP por sus siglas en inglés, pero ¿qué es el TTIP? ¿quién está detrás su negociación? ¿por qué se quiere implantar? ¿y como nos afecta a cada una de nosotros?

  • 4-Dec-2014 FOEE
    Revealed: How taxpayers are footing bill for Europe’s trade deals

    New research today reveals that European governments have already paid at least €3.5 billion to private investors due to a clause in international trade deals.

  • 4-Dec-2014 AITEC
    Accord UE-Canada : le Parlement français vote contre l’ISDS

    Fin novembre, les deux chambres du parlement français ont désavoué l’intégration d’un mécanisme de règlement des différends Investisseur-État dans l’accord CETA.

  • 4-Dec-2014 Public Citizen
    Congressional Financial Services Committee leaders: Exclude ISDS from US-EU deal

    US congressional leaders have just sent a letter to the Obama administration warning against TAFTA/TTIP provisions that could restrict Congress’ ability to prevent another financial crisis.

  • 3-Dec-2014 Skadden
    The increasing appeal and novel use of bilateral investment treaties

    State measures that reduce or nullify existing creditor rights, such as the Argentine “Lock Law” or similar moratoria on repayment, may violate BIT rights and supply investors and creditors in other jurisdictions, particularly in the eurozone, with a basis for challenging similar measures.

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