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.
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.
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.
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.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration has ordered that Australia will be allowed to challenge Philip Morris Asia’s right to contest Australia’s plain packaging laws, on the grounds that the company only bought shares in its Australian arm so that it could launch the case.
Australian PM Abbott’s trade deals with Korea, Japan and 12 other Pacific rim countries may give foreign companies the right to sue our governments for claimed losses over GM-free zones. A Greens Bill now in the Senate seeks to stop corporate predators having this right in all future treaties.