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

 

Half Empty: Fonterra's 2017 Opening Forecast Below Expectations

Fonterra Cooperative Group raised its forecast farmgate milk payout for next season by less than expected as the world's largest dairy exporter predicts lower prices will crimp production and supply will pick up. The New Zealand dollar fell. More>>

ALSO:

Pest Control: Mouse Blitz Team Leaves For Antipodes

The Million Dollar Mouse project to rid Antipodes Island of mice is underway with the departure of a rodent eradication team to the remote nature reserve and World Heritage Area. More>>

Gongs Got: Canon Media Awards & NZ Radio Awards Happen

Radio NZ: RNZ website The Wireless, which is co-funded by NZ On Air, was named best website, while Toby Manhire and Toby Morris won the best opinion general writing section for their weekly column on rnz.co.nz and Tess McClure won the best junior feature writer section. More>>

ALSO:

Pre-Budget: Debt Focus Risks Losing Opportunity To Stoke Economy

The Treasury is likely to upgrade its forecasts for economic growth in Budget 2016 next week but Finance Minister Bill English has already signalled that more of his focus is on debt repayment than on fiscal stimulus or tax cuts... More>>

ALSO:

Fulton Hogan's Heroes: Managing Director Nick Miller Resigns

Fulton Hogan managing director Nick Miller will leave the privately owned construction company after seven years in charge. The Dunedin-based company has kicked off a search for a replacement, and Miller will stay on at the helm until March next year, or until a successor has been appointed and a transition period completed. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Electricity, Executions, And Bob Dylan

The Electricity Authority has unveiled the final version of its pricing plan for electricity transmission. This will change the way transmission prices (which comprise about 10% of the average power bill) are computed, and will add hundreds of dollars a year to power bills for many ordinary consumers. More>>

ALSO:

Half Empty: Fonterra NZ, Australia Milk Collection Drops In Season

Fonterra Cooperative Group says milk collection is down in New Zealand and Australia, its two largest markets, in the first 11 months of the season during a period of weak dairy prices. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news