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.

  • 3-Jun-2015 EurActiv
    Matthias Fekl: ‘The EU should have its own arbitration court’

    France’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Matthias Fekl, delivered a proposal for TTIP arbitration reform in Brussels yesterday, in which he recommended the creation of a European court to settle trade disputes.

  • 3-Jun-2015 Ars Technica UK
    EU arts policies could lead to ISDS lawsuits, admits German government

    The German federal government has admitted that an EU country’s arts policies could lead to it being sued by foreign corporations before investor tribunals under trade agreements being negotiated with Canada and the US.

  • 3-Jun-2015 OHCHR
    UN experts voice concern over adverse impact of free trade and investment agreements on human rights

    A group of UN experts have issued the following statement to express concern about the secret nature of drawing up and negotiating many of these free trade and investment agreements, such as TPP and TTIP, and the potential adverse impact of these agreements on human rights.

  • 2-Jun-2015 AFP
    Tafta : la France pose ses conditions

    Dans le cadre des futurs accords de libre échange avec les États-Unis (TTIP ou Tafta pour ses opposants), la France a présenté ce mardi à l’UE ses propositions pour encadrer les tribunaux d’arbitrage.

  • 2-Jun-2015 Newsday
    Matiza warns Zanu PF Bippa farm invaders

    A governernment official has warned Zanu PF supporters against invading commercial farms covered under Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (Bippas) with foreign governments

  • 29-May-2015 EESC
    The EESC opposes ISDS in TTIP and CETA and calls for an International Investment Court

    The European Economic and Social Committee, in its opinion adopted on 27 May, opposes the inclusion of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) or in the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), as it believes such a system has the potential to derail both agreements.

  • 28-May-2015 Congressional Research Service
    International Investment Agreements (IIAs): Frequently Asked Questions

    This report for US Congress answers frequently asked questions about US international investment agreements including provisions for investor-state dispute settlement.

  • 28-May-2015 AFP
    Accord de libre-échange UE-USA: un premier soutien du Parlement européen

    L’accord de libre-échange, en cours de négociations entre Européens et Américains, a reçu une première marque de soutien du Parlement européen jeudi avec le feu vert de la commission en charge du commerce, ce qui a provoqué la colère des eurodéputés verts, fermement opposés à ce projet.

  • 28-May-2015 BBC
    MEPs take initial position on TTIP negotiations

    The resolution supported by the committee does not explicitly call for a ban on controversial investor-to-state dispute mechanisms (ISDS), instead calling for the jurisdiction of national courts to be "respected" in the deal.

  • 26-May-2015 El Ciudadano
    TTIP: El futuro de Europa se decide en un sucucho

    A pocas semanas de que los eurodiputados decidan el destino del Tratado Transatlántico de Comercio e Inversión, el secretismo impuesto en torno al texto sigue generando inquietud entre la ciudadanía.

  • 25-May-2015 NO 2 ISDS!
    Action: Call on MEPs to firmly reject special rights for foreign investors!

    Join this e-action on the European Parliament, asking MEPs to pledge that they will reject ISDS in TTIP. The action is going to run until the vote in the plenary on 10 June and is available in 9 languages.

  • 25-May-2015 Korea Herald
    Korean government criticized for lack of transparency on ISDS suit

    While the South Korean government is facing its second international arbitration under the investor-state dispute settlement system, civic groups are demanding that the details should be made public as they could cost several billion dollars of taxpayers’ money.

  • 25-May-2015 The Ecologist
    Stopping the corporate power grab — it’s not all just about TTIP

    In the rush to oppose TTIP we mustn’t lose sight of the context in which the deal is being negotiated — the hundreds of bilateral treaties that give corporations the right to sue in secret ’trade courts’.

  • 18-May-2015 Jakarta Post
    Renegotiating the bite of our BITs

    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.

  • 17-May-2015 Huffington Post
    Canada just threw a grenade into Elizabeth Warren’s trade fight with Obama

    Last week, Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver gave a speech in New York arguing that the Volcker Rule — a key tenet of the US’ 2010 banking law — violates the North American Free Trade Agreement. This underscores Senator Warren’s warning that such deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership that Obama is currently negotiating, jeopardize financial reform.

  • 15-May-2015
    Reject TPP dispute settlement: ALP

    Labor has called on the federal government to follow the example of the Howard years and oppose the inclusion of a controversial dispute-settlement provision in trade talks with the US.

  • 15-May-2015
    Singapore breaks new ground as arbitration hub

    The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes hears its first case outside of US, France

  • 15-May-2015
    First hearing opens over Lone Star asset sell-offs in Korea

    An international tribunal began hearing a multi-billion dollar case Friday that the US private equity firm Lone Star filed against South Korea’s government over tax and other disputes surrounding its asset sell-offs in Korea.

  • 15-May-2015 Jacobin Magazine
    Against the Trans-Pacific Partnership

    Opponents of the trade deal being secretly negotiated between the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam have moved the discussion beyond its putative impact on jobs and growth and closer to the agreement’s broader ramifications, writes the IUF’s Peter Rossman.

  • 14-May-2015 EurActiv
    UN blasts EU for backing global deal for ISDS, but not for country bailouts

    Richard Kozul-Wright, director at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), said support for investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) but not for state-investor was “incongruous”.

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