Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Korea investor safeguards will not work

“Safeguards” for investor rights to sue governments in Korea FTA text will not work

“The Abbott Government has agreed to include Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in the Korea Australia FTA text which was released today. ISDS enables foreign investors to sue national, state or local governments for hundreds of millions of dollars of damages if they can allege a domestic law or policy “harms” their investment. The disputes are heard in international tribunals without the legal protections of national legal systems: arbitrators can be practising advocates and there are no precedents or appeals,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Convenor of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, said today.

“The Trade Minister claims that there are “safeguards” which will prevent foreign investors from suing governments over laws which deal with public welfare, health and the environment. But these same “safeguards” have been included in other recent trade agreements, including the Central American Free Trade Agreement and the Peru-US Free Trade Agreement. The key substantial safeguard clauses in the Korea FTA are the same as in these two agreements, and they have not worked to prevent governments being sued,” said Dr Ranald.

“These agreements seek to limit the definition of “indirect expropriation”, which enables foreign investors to sue governments over domestic laws. But the sentence to exempt public health, safety and the environment begins with the words "except in rare circumstances.” This leaves a huge loophole which recent cases have used to advantage. Another “safeguard” is a more limited definition of "fair and equitable treatment" for foreign investors. But tribunals have ignored these limitations and applied the previous higher standard,” explained Dr Ranald.

“These “safeguards” have not prevented cases against environmental regulation. The Government of El Salvador has been sued by Pacific Rim Mining Corporation under the Central American Free Trade agreement, over a ban on mining to protect the nation’s limited groundwater resources. The US Renco mining company is using ISDS in the Peru-US Agreement to contest a local court decision that it was responsible for pollution from its lead mine. Both cases are ongoing and may take several years,” said Dr Ranald.

“Even if governments win these cases, they will have taken years and cost millions of dollars in legal fees. There will be no guarantee that the “safeguards” will work in future cases, because the arbitrators do not have to base their decisions on previous precedents meaning that the outcomes of future cases are unpredictable,” said Dr Ranald.

“The inclusion of ISDS in any trade agreement, even with “safeguards” exposes Australia to being sued for hundreds of millions of dollars over health and environment legislation,” said Dr Ranald.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: RBNZ Keeps OCR At 3.5%, Signals Slower Pace Of Future Hikes

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 3.5 percent and signalled he won’t be as aggressive with future rate hikes as previously thought as inflation remains tamer than expected. The kiwi dollar fell to a seven-month low. More>>

ALSO:

Weather: Dry Spells Take Hold In South Island

Many areas in the South Island are tracking towards record dry spells as relatively warm, dry weather that began in mid-August continues... for some South Island places, the current period of fine weather is quite rare. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Productivity Commission To Look At Housing Land Supply

The Productivity Commission is to expand on its housing affordability report with an investigation into improving land supply and development capacity, particularly in areas with strong population growth. More>>

ALSO:

Forestry: Man Charged After 2013 Death

Levin Police have arrested and charged a man with manslaughter in relation to the death of Lincoln Kidd who was killed during a tree felling operation on 19 December 2013. More>>

ALSO:

Smells Like Justice: Dairy Company Fined Over Odour

Dairy company fined over odour Dairy supply company Open Country Dairy Limited has been convicted and fined more than $35,000 for discharging objectionable odour from its Waharoa factory at the time of last year’s ”spring flush” when milk supply was high. More>>

Scoop Business: Dairy Product Prices Decline To Lowest Since July 2012

Dairy product prices dropped to the lowest level since July 2012 in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, led by a slump in rennet casein and butter milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

SOE Results: TVNZ Lifts Annual Profit 25% On Flat Ad Revenue, Quits Igloo

Television New Zealand, the state-owned broadcaster, lifted annual profit 25 percent, ahead of forecast and despite a dip in advertising revenue, while quitting its stake in the pay-TV Igloo joint venture with Sky Network Television. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand

Mosh Social Media
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news