Pacific

Pacific states have signed 72 trade and investment agreements, 39 of which have been concluded by Australia alone.

Most of Australia’s free trade deals contain investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions, including those with ASEAN and New Zealand (AANZFTA), China (ChAFTA), India, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico or Turkey.

Following a dispute with Philip Morris over an anti-tobacco law, Australia claimed it would refrain from engaging into new investment agreements with ISDS. However Australia’s more recent agreements such as ChAFTA, the Indonesia FTA, the Hong Kong FTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) include ISDS.

The Philip Morris vs. Australia case is the most well-known dispute to date. When Australia introduced plain packaging for all tobacco products in 2011, Philip Morris initiated a claim against Australia before an arbitral tribunal. In its December 2015 decision, the tribunal dismissed the case, albeit on legal grounds only. Australia spent A$24 million but Philip Morris only paid half, leaving the Australian taxpayers to pay the rest.

The Pacific has been the least targeted region. Only Australian investors have initiated disputes on seven registered occasions, two of which were under the Energy Charter Treaty.

Photo: Dominic Hartnett / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

(April 2020)

The Nation | 17-Jul-2017
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.
Mondaq | 17-Jul-2017
APR Energy PLC and Nucoal have been making noise about bringing investor-state claims against Australia
BBC | 10-Jul-2017
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.
The Hill | 5-May-2017
The lack of a defined procedure under the AUSFTA is extremely prejudicial to U.S. companies and banks: chairman of APR Energy
Sydney Morning Herald | 2-May-2017
US mining company Nucoil is using a free trade agreement to put pressure on the Australian government to pay compensation over cancelled licences.
TNS | 24-Apr-2017
The final amount of damages payable to TCC in the Reko Diq case may carry serious implications for future development projects in Balochistan.
Stock Market Wire | 20-Apr-2017
Churchill filed an annulment application after an ICSID Tribunal granted Indonesia’s application to dismiss the company’s claims for damages following the revocation of mining licences.
The Australian | 7-Apr-2017
The Thai government says it is ready to hold talks with Australian goldmining company, Kingsgate Consolidated, over the closure of its Thai mining operations last year.
Mining Weekly | 4-Apr-2017
Aim-listed Churchill Mining has lodged an application to have the ICSID Tribunal’s decision to dismiss claims for damages against Indonesia
Courrier Mail | 3-Apr-2017
Australian goldminer Kingsgate Consolidated is banking on free trade agreement provisions to press the Thai government to open talks over its 2016 decision to shut all gold mines.

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