EPSU update on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)

This update reports on new trade-related reports and recent developments regarding CETA, TTIP and TiSA (and including a new ETUC position on TiSA, attached). It also includes information about ISDS and the new EC proposal for ICS (Investment Court System) and the TPPA (Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement).

On 2 February UNCTAD released updated information on the number of ISDS cases see
http://investmentpolicyhub.unctad.org/News/Hub/Home/458. UNCTAD’s Investment Dispute Settlement Navigator shows that in 2015 70 ISDS cases were filed. Spain was by far the most frequent respondent in 2015, with 15 claims brought against it. The Russian Federation is second on this list with 7 cases. The total number of publicly known cases has reached nearly 700 . In the coming weeks, UNCTAD will publish its annual report providing a more detailed analysis of the newly filed cases as well as an overview of the key decisions issued by arbitral tribunals over the course of 2015. Up to now just over half of all concluded ISDS cases have ended in an outright loss for the government or a settlement with the foreign investor.

For a good illustration of how problematic ISDS can be see ClientEarth’s opinion piece for Euractiv on Keystone XL and the implications for CETA and TTIP. You can find it here. On 23 February the ETUC’s trade group will discuss its position on the EC’s proposal for a reformed ISDS, the Investment Court System (ICS). If EPSU members would like to comment on the draft text please contact the Secretariat. Civil society organisations including the Seattle2Brussels Network and Peter Fuchs of PowerShift have identified five key serious concerns that exist in both the ISDS and ICS
mechanisms:

  • both ISDS and ICS give exclusive rights to foreign investors, thereby discriminating against domestic investors, citizens and communities, without any evidence of benefits to the wider society
  • both ISDS and ICS can force governments to use billions in taxpayers funds to
    compensate corporations for public health, environmental, labour and other public interest policies, government actions and even court rulings. They do not ensure that private interests cannot undermine public policy objectives
  • neither ISDS or ICS are subject to democratic principles and scrutiny. Parliaments will not be able to change the rules later on;
  • both ISDS and ICS undermine the jurisdiction of European and Member States courts as foreign investors can by-pass them;
  • both ISDS and ICS ignore the fact that European, U.S. and Canadian legal systems are perfectly capable of handling disputes with foreign investors, based on the law that applies to everyone else in society. ISDS / ICS will be on the agenda of the 6th Civil society EU wide meeting on CETA and TTIP 22, 23, 24 February 2016 https://www.collectifstoptafta.org/collectivites/

Read the rest of EPSU second update on CETA, TTIP, TiSA here.