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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.


Foreign investors may take Korea’s mobile fee cut to ISD settlement
Foreign investors are making increasing inquiries about possible losses to their investment in South Korean telecom companies, three days before the carriers are to decide on whether to file a lawsuit against the government’s fee cut plan, industry sources said on Aug. 28.
Canada says ’hard no’ on changing NAFTA dispute resolution
Canada will oppose any effort to change the investor-state dispute resolution system in the North American Free Trade Agreement, sources tell the Washington Examiner
Trump move on settling trade disputes splits NAFTA fans and critics
The Trump administration’s proposal to revamp NAFTA’s system for settling disputes between governments and private companies splits both the opposition to and the advocates for ISDS
"Modernize NAFTA, but don’t ruin its energy trade provisions"
More than 100 associations representing US businesses are teaming up to encourage the Trump administration to maintain ISDS protections as it renegotiates NAFTA, writes the head of the US oil and natural gas industry trade group
Support threatened if Trump team abandons investment protection provision
Three top US business groups have fired a warning shot at the Trump administration, threatening to drop their support for its renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement if a controversial investment protection provision is abandoned.
A BIT of critique
A committee in India, led by Justice B.N. Srikrishna, has lost an opportunity to push for the recalibration of the country’s BIT regime
US bid to exit Nafta arbitration panels draws ire from businesses
US trade officials are putting together a proposal to let the US withdraw from a corporate arbitration system at the heart of the North American Free Trade Agreement, upsetting big American companies that say the system protects their investments overseas.
Can foreign investors sue the UK over Brexit?
Foreign investors may have a case against the UK government if profits suffer post-Brexit, says Bryan Cave’s Maria Gritsenko.
Trump’s penchant for deal-making evident in push to renegotiate KORUS
The Moon administration needs to stand up to Trump with the confidence of a party ready to accept termination of the agreement, writes The Hankyoreh
What to do about corrupt arbitral tribunals?
That concern is a real and serious one, but there is also a more direct and crude problem: parties (or their lawyers) bribing, or making backdoor deals with, the arbitrators to secure a favorable outcome.
Duterte’s RCEP push at ASEAN, implications on Philippines economy & development
The more far-reaching implication of RCEP is for Philippines’s sovereignty in regulating foreign investments
«Le moratoire de Québec était légitime», dit le Centre québécois en droit de l’environnement
Québec était en droit d’instituer un moratoire sur la fracturation hydraulique et Ottawa ne devrait pas compenser Lone Pine.
Business groups to the administration: Keep ISDS in NAFTA
More than 100 U.S. business groups and associations are pushing the Trump administration to not only preserve investor-state dispute settlement and related provisions in an updated NAFTA agreement but to also strengthen them to further protect intellectual property and interests.
NAFTA renegotiation: ISDS reform objectives
ISDS reform is one of several “negotiating objectives” announced last month by the Office of the United States Trade Representative.
India may deviate from model BIT to meet Canada’s demands
As talks with Canada began before model text was approved by Cabinet, deviations may be allowed.
Tell us who gains from RCEP: People’s Forum demands as RCEP talks end
“Tell us at least now who gains from RCEP,” People’s Forum challenges the Indian government as the 19th round of RCEP negotiations comes to an end
Why RCEP is more dangerous than bilateral investment treaties
Crucial to RCEP’s investment protection chapter is the highly controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism, a system of privatised justice characterised by international arbitration tribunals outside of the reach of domestic legal systems, explains Cecilia Olivet of TNI
Harsh sentencing of Aymara leader reveals the politics of criminalization in Peru
This past month, eighteen Aymara community leaders endured the final stages of a trial that had them facing up to 28 years in prison and massive fines for their alleged roles in the 2011 ‘Aymarazo’ protests against the Santa Ana silver mine on the Peru-Bolivia border.
The king is dead, long live the king: the EU and the future of investor-state dispute settlement
The data lead to the inexorable conclusion that the European Commission’s declaration that “investment treaty arbitration is dead” is wrong by a ratio of over 1:3,000.
World Bank orders Argentina to pay $320 mln over seized airline
The World Bank’s arbitration tribunal has ordered Argentina to pay $320 million plus interest and legal fees to Spanish travel group Marsans for expropriating its airline Aerolineas Argentinas SA in 2008.