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Investor rights to sue governments hotly debated - TPP talks

December 6, 2012

Investor rights to sue governments hotly debated at Trans-Pacific trade talks in Auckland

“The US proposal in the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement for foreign investor rights to sue governments in international tribunals is a challenge to national sovereignty and should be rejected,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, will say in a presentation to negotiators Friday, December 7.

“The Australian government is currently being sued by the Philip Morris tobacco company over its plain packaging legislation, under the provisions of an obscure 1993 Hong Kong investment agreement, even after tobacco companies lost their challenge to the legislation in the Australian High Court,” says Dr Ranald.”This has contributed to the Australian Government decision to refuse to have investor rights to sue applied to Australia in the TPPA.”

The presentation will analyse the reasons behind the Australian High Court decision, which were published in October, and show how international tribunals use legal principles which contradict national laws and threaten national sovereignty. She will urge all governments to oppose investor rights to sue in the negotiations.

Trans-Pacific free trade negotiations between Australia, the US, New Zealand, Peru, Chile, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Mexico and Canada are taking place Auckland, NZ, from December 2 to 9, 2012.

A wide range of civil society organisations have been holding public events and demonstrations in Auckland, and presenting their views to negotiators, said Dr Ranald.

ENDS

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