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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.


ASEAN Parliamentarians call for a focus on rights in regional trade talks
Officials from ASEAN member states and other countries meeting in India this week for negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) should take steps to ensure that the trade deal safeguards human rights, Southeast Asian lawmakers said today.
Argentina bonds for sale to pay money owed Total
Citigroup offered US$200m of Argentina bonds for sale as part of an arbitration agreement to help settle the sovereign’s obligations to French oil company Total.
Pakistan refuses $11.5 billion claim in Reko Diq case
Pakistan has rejected $11.5 billion damages claim made by the Tethyan Copper Company ltd (TCC) a joint venture between Antofagasta and Canada’s Barrick Gold Corporation in the Reko Diq case.
Canada blinks in face of US/Pharma pressure
The cool reasoning of the Canadian Supreme Court does not acknowledge or reference “external” pressures or the Eli Lilly v. Canada ISDS case. However, courts do not decide cases in a vacuum. This case seems to have been decided in a pressure cooker.
No RCEP Campaign: Stop trading away human rights
The ’No RCEP’ campaign urges governments to consider the adverse impact of the mega free trade agreement
UN agrees to start work on multilateral reform of investment dispute settlement
The United Nations has agreed to initiate work on possible multilateral reform of investment dispute settlement including the possible establishment of a multilateral investment court.
Small business leaders to Trump: in renegotiating NAFTA, end unfair competitive edge for multinational companies over US small businesses
100 small businesses: NAFTA currently privileges multinational corporations over U.S. small business unfairly under “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” preferential treatment.
Cabinet approves interpretative notes between India, Bangladesh
The JIN includes the definition of investor and investment, exclusion of taxation measures, Fair and Equitable Treatment (FET), National Treatment (NT) and Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment, expropriation, essential security interests and settlement of disputes between an investor and a contracting party,
Katainen suggests dropping investment from trade deals
The European Union could drop investment from major free trade deals in an effort to ease ratification, Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen.
Minefields in investment relations
The Government of India and the Government of Andhra Pradesh are facing an arbitration suit due to the cancellation of bauxite mining approvals in Visakhapatnam. This is the latest in a series of legal actions by foreign investors in the country.
Fumbling towards multilateralism? A first read of the investment text in the Japan-EU FTA
The EU and Japan seemed to have scrapped the classic BIT/investor protection architecture as a model.
Philip Morris: Tobacco giant ordered to compensate Australia
Tobacco giant Philip Morris has been ordered to pay the Australian government millions of dollars after unsuccessfully suing the nation over its world-first plain-packaging laws.
Foreign investment: big slogan and bigger worries
What can India do at the level of trade and diplomacy to deal with RCEP
Rwanda needs its own Bilateral Investment Treaty model
If Rwanda clings to BIT approach, its scope should be limited. Alternatively, it can embark on a more attractive investment climate in lieu of BITs.
Can NAFTA be improved? Some activists are hopeful about renegotiation
Regardless of the short-term outcome, the movement for a progressive new NAFTA will hand progressives a dynamic issue—and a mobilized base—in the 2018 and 2020 elections. The current renegotiation could set the stage for future battles, perhaps for deeper change.
Investing in alternative dispute settlement
Governments at the Centre and in the States must urgently invest in building their own capacity to handle the new generation of international investment arbitration.
Gabriel: you can always ask but it doesn’t mean we will let you get it!
With Gabriel Resources seeking US$4.4 billion in damages, Alburnus Maior, a prospective amicus curiae in the arbitration case, announces that it aims to file its brief to the ICSID Tribunal until September 2018 at the latest.
Canada’s Gabriel Resources to seek $4.4 bln in damages from Romania
Gabriel Resources Ltd will seek $4.4 billion in damages from Romania for losses related to its long-stalled Rosia Montana gold mine project in a claim that the Canadian miner plans to file with a World Bank Tribunal.
US junks Bilateral Investment Treaty talks
Talks deadlocked on investor dispute settlement.
Six years after the ‘Aymarazo’ protests in Peru
Criminal charges pending against 18 community leaders and a billion-dollar court case at ICSID.