ISDS

ISDS, the notorious Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism, is also known as Corporate Courts. It means that corporations can sue governments for policies that they deem will effect future profits. It is the means by which Veolia, the French waste disposal corporation, is suing the Egyptian government for raising the minimum wage, and by which Phillip Morris, the US tobacco giant, is suing the Australian government for introducing plain packaging on cigarettes in order to dissuade its citizens from smoking.

It is part of many mega-trade deals such as TTIP, CETA and TPP.

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Taxes on trial - how trade deals threaten tax justice

February 2016

Demands for tax justice have resounded worldwide, with inequality at historic and unsustainable levels and increased attention towards the tax practices of  major multinational corporations from Google to Starbucks. We believe that governments must be able to change their tax systems to ensure multinationals pay their fair share and to ensure that critical public services are well funded. States must also be able to reconsider and withdraw tax breaks previously granted to multinationals if they no longer fit with national priorities.

If you’re worried about our sovereignty, read the German judges’ damning indictment of TTIP


03 February 2016

A group of German judges have just dealt a serious blow to the European Commission’s desperate TTIP ‘compromise’.

A Canadian broadcaster this morning reported that the “EU quietly asks Canada to rework trade deal's thorny investment clause.”  The report speculates that the free trade deal "risks a humiliating defeat on a ratification vote expected at the EU's parliament in Brussels this fall, unless a compromise can be reached to appease moderate opponents." The free trade deal between Canada and the EU (CETA)  was agreed on by both parties in September 2014, but was awaiting ratification.

‘Corporate courts’ have taken from the poor and handed to the rich – TTIP will turbo-charge this redistribution


19 January 2016

Huge corporations and the seriously wealthy will be the big winners from the controversial US-EU trade deal known as TTIP.

Trans-Canada sue US government for $15 billion over tar sands pipeline cancellation


07 January 2016

In a dramatic example of the powers assumed by the corporate world through trade deals, energy infrastructure corporation TransCanada commenced legal actions yesterday against the US president for cancelling the Keystone XL Pipeline project.

Today Cecilia Malmström, the European Commissioner for trade will release final plans for an alternative system to the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism that had proved to be so widely controversial in the EU-USA trade deal TTIP. In response Guy Taylor, the trade campaigner at Global Justice Now, said:

The release of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) text - a giant trade and investment between 12 countries including the US and Japan - has led to claims by campaigns groups that the pact will cost jobs and represents 'a disaster for democracy.' The TPP is a parallel agreement to TTIP, the US-EU deal, which has met with serious opposition from across Europe.
 

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Fighting TTIP, CETA and ISDS: Lessons from Canada

October 2015

Maude Barlow, Canadian activist and author, has written this paper as a warning to Europeans who care about the health of their people, the resilience of their communities, the fate of their public services, and the protection of their natural resources.

Why Canada is one of the most sued countries in the world


23 October 2015

NAFTA, the free trade deal between Canada, the USA and Mexico that came into effect in 1994, was the first trade deal among developed countries to include an investor-state provision. It grants investors of the continent the right to sue one another’s governments without first pursuing legal action through the country’s legal system.

TTIP is a ‘revolution against international law’, says UN Expert


16 October 2015

“Globalization cannot be allowed to become the grand global casino where investors rig the system to guarantee that they always win.” UN human rights expert Alfred-Maurice de Zayas doesn’t mince his words when it comes to the new generation of trade deals like TTIP.

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The hustles in Brussels – MEPs vote to block legal scrutiny of toxic trade deal


23 November 2016

One of the most controversial aspects of the toxic trade deals being pushed by the EU is the system of corporate courts.

Big Tobacco lost to Australia over plain packaging - but that doesn't mean that corporate courts 'work'

Late last year tobacco company Philip Morris International’s (PMI) attempted to sue the Australian government for billions over the introduction of plain packing of cigarettes. This court case happened in a secretive court system, just like the one that they are trying to introduce in the EU-USA trade deal, TTIP.

If we support fairtrade, then we must oppose unfair trade deals like CETA and TTIP


02 March 2016

Supporting fairtade is surely a no brainer - and I've yet to meet a politician who doesn't think it's a good thing.  But ignoring (or worse still supporting) mega trade deals TTIP and CETA could threaten decades of good work to ensure that fairtrade supports small-scale producers. 

Five reasons why the TTIP talks are looking a bit wobbly


22 February 2016

The twelfth round of negotiations for TTIP, the biggest trade deal of them all, starts today in Brussels. The impacts of TTIP are disturbing and well documented elsewhere on this site, but we are seeing signs of panic setting in on the pro-TTIP side of the fence. They’re right to panic.

If you’re worried about our sovereignty, read the German judges’ damning indictment of TTIP


03 February 2016

A group of German judges have just dealt a serious blow to the European Commission’s desperate TTIP ‘compromise’.

‘Corporate courts’ have taken from the poor and handed to the rich – TTIP will turbo-charge this redistribution


19 January 2016

Huge corporations and the seriously wealthy will be the big winners from the controversial US-EU trade deal known as TTIP.

Resources

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How TTIP threatens people and planet

February 2016

Negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and USA began in July 2013. If agreed, it would be the world’s biggest trade and investment deal outside of those negotiated within the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

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Taxes on trial - how trade deals threaten tax justice

February 2016

Demands for tax justice have resounded worldwide, with inequality at historic and unsustainable levels and increased attention towards the tax practices of  major multinational corporations from Google to Starbucks. We believe that governments must be able to change their tax systems to ensure multinationals pay their fair share and to ensure that critical public services are well funded. States must also be able to reconsider and withdraw tax breaks previously granted to multinationals if they no longer fit with national priorities.

Resource thumbail

Fighting TTIP, CETA and ISDS: Lessons from Canada

October 2015

Maude Barlow, Canadian activist and author, has written this paper as a warning to Europeans who care about the health of their people, the resilience of their communities, the fate of their public services, and the protection of their natural resources.

Latest news

As the UK trade minister Greg Hands visits the United States for trade talks (1), an alliance of civil society groups this morning delivered nearly 70,000 signatures to the Department for International Trade calling on the UK government to commit to keeping controversial ‘corporate courts’ out of post-Brexit trade deals.

Campaign groups Global Justice Now and War on Want have called for Boris Johnson’s government to rule out so-called ‘corporate courts’ after Brexit, following a report today by parliament’s International Trade Committee describing the investment provisions as “hugely controversial”.

European parliamentary leaders are attempting to block a move for the controversial new corporate courts system in the EU Canada trade deal (CETA) to be scrutinized by the European Court of Justice.