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investor-state disputes | ISDS

Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) refers to a way of handling conflicts under international investment agreements whereby companies from one party are allowed to sue the government of another party. This means they can file a complaint and seek compensation for damages. Many BITs and investment chapters of FTAs allow for this if the investor’s expectation of a profit has been negatively affected by some action that the host government took, such as changing a policy. The dispute is normally handled not in a public court but through a private abritration panel. The usual venues where these proceedings take place are the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (World Bank), the International Chamber of Commerce, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law or the International Court of Justice.

ISDS is a hot topic right now because it is being challenged very strongly by concerned citizens in the context of the EU-US TTIP negotiations, the TransPacific Partnership talks and the CETA deal between Canada and the EU.


Negotiations this week on EU-Myanmar Investment Protection Agreement
Negotiators discussed the EU’s reformed approach to investment protection and investment dispute resolution.
TRIPS flexibilities under threat from investment disputes: a closer look at Canada’s “win” against Eli Lilly
Although Canada won in a unanimous decision, the ruling does not, however, guarantee domestic discretion going forward, contrary to the suggestion of some.
Employment crisis and free trade agreements( FTAs) : Why workers should reject RCEP
Trade unions, farmers groups, health activists, and other people’s movements are planning to organise a series of events to put pressure on the Government of India to withdraw from RCEP negotiations.
FinMin to look into changes sought by Canada in draft bilateral treaty
Enormous political pressure to get the bilateral, economic treaties off the ground, say officials.
Trading with Trump – What we can expect from a UK-US trade deal
A new briefing has outlined the likely elements of a UK-US trade deal and argues that it would contain more extreme forms of all the controversial elements of the deal that was being negotiated between the EU and the USA.
Canada’s Gran Colombia Gold files $700 million lawsuit against Colombia over Marmato project
Canadian miner Gran Colombia Gold has filed a US$700 million lawsuit against Colombia under the Colombian-Canadian free trade agreement after the government ordered the company to cease operations at the El Burro site in Marmato.
Corporate sovereignty used to bully Ukraine, Colombia and Italy for protecting public health and the environment
ISDS is an attempt to remove the risk of investment from companies, and place it squarely on the public’s shoulders, without any quid pro quo.
Dispute settlement becomes speculative financial asset
ISDS provisions of investment treaties, free trade and other agreements have increasingly provided an investment opportunity to make money by speculating on lawsuits.
Treating intellectual property as an investment, and subjecting it to treaty arbitration, can have undesirable impact
Free trade agreements tend to treat intellectual property as an investment made by investor corporations, allowing private investment disputes to be raised against the host country.
El Salvador freezes OceanaGold bank accounts, assets over $8 mln payment
El Salvador froze bank accounts and assets belonging to OceanaGold Corp after the mining company refused to pay the country $8 million as mandated by an international court.
Is it time to redesign or terminate investor-state arbitration?
A clean break is needed to restore trust, but these stiff tests must be met.
Ontario coughs up $28M to wind power company
The Ontario government says it has paid a $28-million award that a NAFTA tribunal ruled was owed to a wind power company over a provincial offshore wind moratorium.
Compulsory licensing in Colombia: Leaked documents show aggressive lobbying by Novartis
Confidential documents obtained by Public Eye show that Novartis has threatened Colombia with international investment arbitration under its BIT with Switzerland to avoid the issuance of a compulsory license
Labor union calls out Peru over land bond dispute
The Teamsters labor union has escalated an investor dispute against Peru, arguing that its members’ pensions could be thrown into jeopardy as a result of the government’s alleged failure to pay investors $5 billion worth of debt tied up in land bonds.
India’s bilateral investment pacts under cloud
Most have expired; partners unwilling to renew them under Finance Ministry’s model draft
Kingsgate to talk with Thai government
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.
Gilead Pharma corp withdraws investment arbitration after Ukraine agrees to settlement of dispute over monopoly rights to market anti-viral drug
Ukraine has settled a dispute with American pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences Inc., following the company’s pursuit of legal remedies in both domestic courts and via investment arbitration.
Kingsgate seeks Thai gold mine resolution
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.
Pharmaceutical giant threatens to drag Government before corporate tribunal
Novartis battle against Colombian Government highlights the threats to public health posed by the outrageous investor-state dispute settlement regime and bad “trade” deals.
India receives 20 claim notices under BIPA disputes: Govt
India has received around 20 claim notices in cases of investor-state arbitration disputes under bilateral investment protection pacts.