“As expected” mumbled Commission president Juncker when an aide passed him a note saying Trump had decided to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminium. The American administration had been playing with the Europeans for nearly two months but threats of retaliation, offers of new trade deals (TTIP light), and a grand visit from the French president had done nothing to dissuade US president Donald Trump.
Countries will meet at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law this week, in the UN’s famous New York City building, to discuss modernising the mechanism that enables foreign firms to sue governments for what they perceive as unfair policy measures that can harm future profits. This is commonly known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS. The European Commission’s proposal to reform this archaic system will form the core of the discussions.
The European Commission’s latest contribution on the investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) scheme is a disappointing, recycled 12-page document that visibly struggles with the contradiction that is inherent in claiming that ISDS under the EU-Canada trade deal (CETA) is of the highest standard while also acknowledging that the problems with ISDS under TTIP are far from resolved.
The Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) was first proposed in early 2007 as part of the so-called “integrated approach”, to ensure that the oil industry would also contribute to the fight against climate change. Its implementation has been frequently and quietly delayed until the end of 2014 due to massive amount of lobbying by oil interests.
Two proposed trade deals – the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement (CETA), and the United States-European Union Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – have attracted widespread international criticism by threatening to give unrivaled, unfettered "investment" rights to multinational corporations, including the world's worst polluters. While the text of CETA has been finalized and made public and TTIP is in an earlier phase of secretive negotiations, both still require formal ratification. It's not too late – the EU, U.S. and Canada should eliminate corporate-empowering rules from trade agreements rather than falsely claim that the rules have been "reformed" for the better.
100,000 submissions to a public consultation is a lot on any subject, and particularly when the subject is the finer points of a proposed international trade deal. But having been extended for a week, the signs are that the European Commission’s public consultation on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) has attracted a number of responses that could be in this region. It closed on Sunday, July 13th.
This blogpost was first published by the European Voice on 21 May 2014.Rarely have trade negotiations attracted as much attention and criticism as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has over the last year. There has been no spontaneous ‘boom’ in anti-trade sentiments. Rather, this criticism is due to the overreach being attempted here. With TTIP, the EU is trying something new that goes beyond the classic lowering of tariffs – which incidentally are already low in transatlantic trade.