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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.


ISDS: The devil in the trade deal
A common provision allowing foreign investors to sue host governments has become a ticking time bomb inside trade agreements. Some countries are now refusing to agree to the provision and are questioning its legal legitimacy. Jess Hill investigates.
How Greens in one German state threaten Euro-Canada trade deal
The survival of the new trade deal hammered out in secret between Canada and the European Union is threatened by opposed Green politicians in Germany’s most populated state, writes Andrea Rexer.
Ask Foreign Policy Ministers to exempt ISDS from CETA open letter
Please find below a draft letter to heads of state or trade ministers of EU Member States. It can be sent ahead of the Sept .12 meeting of the EU Trade Policy Committee where Member States have the *final* opportunity to comment on the CETA text.
CETA leak: Crucial questions unanswered
Latest version of trade deal leaves too much up to non-existent commission, lawyers say.
Trade treaties expose Australia to costly litigation, experts warn
Australia risks getting swept up in a wave of litigation by foreign corporations wishing to sue over unfavourable domestic laws, experts warn, after the government rejected a bill to ban controversial trade agreements.
Inquiry rejects ban on ISDS clauses in free trade agreements
A Senate inquiry has recommended against passing a bill that would bar Australia from entering into trade agreements that include so-called ’investor-state dispute settlement’ clauses.
European lawmakers threaten to scupper Canada trade deal
EU lawmakers are threatening to block a multibillion-dollar trade pact between Canada and the European Union – a blueprint for a much bigger EU-US deal – because it would allow firms to sue governments if they breach the treaty.
Newmont withdraws mining arbitration case against Indonesia
Newmont Mining Corp has withdrawn an international arbitration filing against the Indonesian government, government and company officials said on Tuesday, indicating a possible breakthrough in a seven-month dispute that halted exports.
EU agrees rules to manage investor-state disputes
The European Union today took an important step towards creating a comprehensive EU investment policy, with the publication of a Regulation setting out a new set of rules to manage disputes under the EU’s investment agreements with its trading partners.
The “anti-ISDS bill” before the Australian Senate
Indonesia is not the only Asia-Pacific nation that is reassessing investment treaties containing provisions on Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS, especially arbitration).
Indonesia 1, Newmont 0
US firm Newmont Mining has withdrawn its arbitration claim against Indonesia
S&D Group president Gianni Pittella: "We oppose ISDS mechanism in EU-Canada trade deal"
The Socialist & Democrat Group in the European Parliament has always opposed the inclusion of the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism in CETA, says their president G. Pitella, and it will be up to the Parliament to decide whether or not to ratify the agreement.
CAFTA investor rights undermining democracy and the environment: Pacific Rim mining case
Pacific Rim Mining Corp., a Canadian-based multinational firm, sought to establish a massive gold mine using water-intensive cyanide ore processing in the basin of El Salvador’s largest river, Rio Lempa.
Indonesia’s termination of the Netherlands–Indonesia BIT: Broader implications in the Asia-Pacific?
While Indonesia intends to renegotiate its BITs to provide greater capacity to regulate in the public interest, the current Australian government has indicated it will consider the inclusion of ISDS on a case-by-case basis.
CETA: What the leaked version reveals
The most controversial provisions include the investor state dispute resolution mechanism (ISDS), an arbitral tribunal meant to settle disputes between governments and corporations.
EU-Canada trade deal leak ‘ridicules’ TTIP consultation, campaigners say
The leaked EU-Canada trade agreement contains a controversial chapter on investor-state disputes settlement that is substantially unchanged from previous drafts that were used as a basis for the EU’s recently held public consultation.
AFTINET on ISDS
Australia Fair Trade and Invesment Network’s Convener, Dr Patricia Ranald, gave evidence to the Senate Committee for Foreign Affairs Defense & Trade on the 6th August 2014 about the dangers of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in trade agreements.
Bear Creek announces its intent to commence an arbitration against Peru - Santa Ana dispute
Canadian company Bear Creek Mining announces that it intends to commence an arbitration proceeding against the government of Peru under the Canada-Peru FTA.
Two-third of voters in Tory marginals want NHS exempt from US trade pact
More than two-thirds of voters in 13 battleground constituencies want to see the NHS safeguarded from a new trade deal that critics say threatens to make the privatisation of UK health services permanent.
Why developing host countries sign increasingly strict investment agreements
Despite the failure of the OECD’s MAI negotiations and the lack of agreement to put investment on the WTO’s negotiating agenda, the major source countries of FDI will eventually get close to their objective of a comprehensive web of investment agreements with increasingly stricter investment provisions with those developing countries that compete with each other as hosts of their FDI.