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Name: Ken Attaway
Gender: Male
Hometown: Marietta, Georgia
Home country: USA
Current location: Middle LaHave, Nova Scotia, Canada
Member since: Tue Dec 24, 2013, 12:31 PM
Number of posts: 2,741

About Me

Retired Chairman of the Visual and Performing Arts, Raleigh, NC AB/MA Georgia State University PhD University of Houston Author/writer US Citizen living in Canada.

Journal Archives

Who favours ISDS in "trade" agreements?

Much more at the link...


A proposed system between the United States and the European Union that would allow corporations to sue governments has Europeans up in arms. In the EU the system, investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), was until two years ago understood by only a few — but that changed when a Swedish nuclear energy company sued Germany for $4.7 billion for deciding to phase out nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

“People felt very strongly that nuclear power should be phased out. They were shocked to see a company could actually challenge something that was approved at the constitutional level,” said Cecilia Olivet of the Transnational Institute, a Dutch social justice organization for scholars, activists and policymakers. The case was settled, and part of the agreement required Germany to ease its restrictions on nuclear power.
ISDS, a relatively obscure system of for-profit arbitration courts that has long been controversial in legal, corporate and policy circles, is catching public attention as it’s poised to become a lot more powerful. In these courts, such as the World Bank’s International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington, D.C., foreign corporations sue governments over investment disagreements.


Many free trade agreements — including one that the U.S. is negotiating with the EU, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) — include clauses that require governments to accept the jurisdiction of ISDS courts. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement being negotiated among 12 Pacific Rim nations, also includes ISDS. The Office of the United States Trade Representative is pro-ISDS, describing it as a “neutral procedure” that “seeks to provide a law-based approach to resolve conflicts.” The deputy assistant U.S. trade representative for media and public affairs, Trevor Kincaid, declined to comment. Although governments can negotiate to exclude ISDS from trade agreements, high-level European officials, including EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht have said that the U.S. has signalled it will abandon TTIP negotiations if the EU does not accept ISDS.

Cases like the one over nuclear power in Germany sparked protests so widespread in Europe that in June 2013, EU officials paused negotiations about ISDS with the U.S. to conduct a public consultation on whether and how to include it in the trade agreement. The consultation received 150,000 responses — more than any other in EU history — and 97 percent of those were opposed to ISDS.
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