Letter to members of the European Parliament : do not ratify the EU-Singapore investment agreement
“Dear Honourable Member of the European Parliament,
We are writing to draw your attention to the upcoming plenary vote on the EU-Singapore investment deal (EUSIPA), on 12th February.
We, over 50 organisations from Europe and 20 global partners urge you to not ratify EUSIPA. Before you cast your vote, we kindly ask you to consider the following issues and questions:
1- EUSIPA, despite some minor changes, maintains old-style investment protection standards and the Investor Court System (ICS) which is a form of investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS). Despite being billed as a progressive reform to ISDS, the truth is that ICS fails to address the key flaws of the ISDS system including:
– No limits to investor compensation. This hands huge power to investors, especially vis-à-vis member states with stricter budgetary constraints.
– Perverse incentives for arbitrators to rule in favour of investors. Arbitrators remain remunerated on the basis of fees not fixed salaries and therefore have a vested interest in encouraging more cases by ruling in favour of investors.
– Legal standards such as protection of ‘legitimate expectations’ that unfairly favour investors. This wording has been interpreted so expansively that quite standard regulatory changes can fall foul of it.
– Huge risks of regulatory chill In principle the existence of any one-sided system of investor-state arbitration leads to effectively corporate ‘bullying’ of governments. The well-known case Vattenfall vs Germany I shows that states often reverse regulation (in this case curbs on pollution) rather than fight an ISDS case.
2 – EUSIPA does not preserve your right to regulate. Investment protection agreements can outweigh the EU’s international obligations arising from environmental, social and human rights agreements. There is thus no guarantee that the Paris Agreement on climate change will take precedence over EUSIPA. This treaty grants wide privileges to investors and grants them the right to challenge laws and court decisions designed to protect our health and to protect us from climate change.
3 – EUSIPA entrenches the worst elements of existing flawed bilateral agreements. Singapore’s old generation bilateral investment treaties (BITs) in force with 13 European Union Member States (of which 12 include ISDS) are problematic. However, replacing the current BITs with a treaty that effectively expands the scope of the worst elements of these treaties from 12 to 27 Member States is not an improvement. Instead, this new treaty locks all member states into these deeply flawed arrangements . Today, governments are have the right to terminate at least seven of the 12 treaties at any time (and the right to terminate the remaining BITs in the coming years). If EUSIPA passes, it will be almost impossible to terminate it as it involves the whole EU.
4 – ISDS is a failed and dying system. A vote for EUSIPA means backing a system that has failed to serve its proposed purpose – attracting foreign direct investment – and has damaged governments’ capacity to regulate in the public interest. Governments around the world – including South Africa, Indonesia, Tanzania and even the US – are withdrawing support from the system. We in Europe should do the same.
5 – EUSIPA is a step back from CETA as it contains an umbrella clause, which will enable investors to challenge decisions made by a town or a city in international arbitration. Umbrella clauses effectively elevate private commercial contracts to the status of international law. Considering the costs of ICS, there is a significant risk of regulatory chill at local and regional levels.
6- Promoting investment should be about quality as well as quantity. International investment could contribute to the estimated USD 3.9 trillion needed each year to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But governments need to be able to regulate private sector resources to ensure that investment flows into locations and activities that advance the SDGs. EUSIPA undermines the capacity of governments to regulate investment in a way that generates positive effects such as decent jobs, tax generation, or technology transfer.
7 – ISDS has been rejected by the public. In a context where far-right authoritarianism is gaining ground, it is time for you to show your electorate that you listen to over 300,000 people from across Europe who have signed a petition to demand an end to ISDS is all its forms: including the ICS and the Multilateral Investment Court. By demanding a real change to the current flawed and illegitimate investment regime, this is a great opportunity for you to show European citizens that its representatives do listen to their voices.
8 – Multinationals need rules not unfair privileges. In our hyperglobalised world, an increasingly concentrated group of corporations dominates global markets. They get special rights to sue governments but have no international obligation to refrain from human rights abuses. Over the past decades, the extent of corporate power has become overwhelming. There is an urgent need to limit the power of corporations and enhance investors’ accountability. In this context, it is clear that global corporations do not need special rights and a separate ISDS/ICS court system. Instead, we need MEPs to support a strong UN Binding Treaty on multinational corporations and human rights. This will give people an international guarantee that corporations will be held to account.
We remain at your disposal may you want to receive further information and further research from us,
|European organisations :|
|European Coordination Via Campesina||Europe|
|Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy||Europe|
|Friends of the Earth Europe||Europe|
|Corporare Europe Observatory||Europe|
|Federal Chamber of Labour||Austria|
|11.11.11- Coalition of the Flemish North-South Movement||Belgium|
|CNCD-11.11.11 – Centre National de Coopération au développement||Belgium|
|European Environmental Bureau (EEB)||Belgium|
|Fair Tax Finland||Finland|
|TTIP Network Finland||Finland|
|ActionAid France – Peuples Solidaires||France|
|Amis de la Terre France (Friends of the Earth France)||France|
|CADTM Comité pour l’annulation des dettes illégitimes||France|
|Collectif Ethique sur l’étiquette||France|
|Collectif Stop Tafta||France|
|Comité Pauvreté et Politique||France|
|Forschungs- und Dokumentationszentrum Chile-Lateinamerika e.V.||Germany|
|Forum Fairer Handel||Germany|
|Forum on Environment and Development||Germany|
|Netzwerk Gerechter Welthandel||Germany|
|WEED – World Economy, Ecology & Development||Germany|
|foodwatch international||Germany, France, Netherlands|
|STOP TIIP CETA TiSA Greece||Greece|
|Keep Ireland Fracking Free||Ireland|
|Peoples Movement Gluaiseacht an Phobail||Ireland|
|Platform Duurzame en Solidaire Economie||Netherlands|
|TROCA- Plataforma por um Comércio Internacional Justo||Portugal|
|Aire Limpio asociación ecologista||Spain|
|Amigos de la Tierra||Spain|
|asociación pro derechos humanos de andalucia||Spain|
|Campaña “No a los tratados de comercio e inversión”||Spain|
|Campanya Catalunya No als TCI||Spain|
|CECU – Confederación de Consumidores y Usuarios||Spain|
|Coordinadora Estatal de Comercio Justo||Spain|
|Ecologistas en Acción||Spain|
|Enginyeria Sense Fronteres||Spain|
|Entrepueblos – Entrepobles – Entrepobos – Herriarte||Spain|
|Fundacions Darder Mascaro||Spain|
|No als TCI Elx||Spain|
|Observatorio de Multinacionales en América Latina – Paz con Dignidad||Spain|
|Latinamerikagrupperna/Solidarity Sweden-Latin America||Sweden|
|global justice now, manchester||UK|
|Greater Manchester Trade Action Network||UK|
|War on want||UK|
|International support :|
|EU-ASEAN FTA Campaign Network, South East Asia||Regional|
|Amigos de la Tierra América Latina y el Caribe||Regional|
|Focus on the Global South, Thailand/Philippines/India||Regional|
|Asamblea Argentina Mejor sin TLC||Argentina|
|Ecore – Equipo de Colaboración y reflexion||Honduras|
|Indonesia for Global Justice (IGJ)||Indonesia|
|Kesatuan Nelayan Tradisional Indonesia (KNTI)||Indonesia|
|Koalisi Rakyat untuk Keadilan Perikanan (KIARA)||Indonesia|
|Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI)||Indonesia|
|Konfederasi Serikat Buruh Sejahtera Indonesia (KSBSI)||Indonesia|
|Koalisi Rakyat untuk Hak Atas Air (KRuHA)||Indonesia|
|Kesatuan Perjuangan Rakyat (KPR)||Indonesia|
|Indonesia AIDS Coalition (IAC)||Indonesia|
|Indonesian Human Rights Comittee for Social Justice (IHCS)||Indonesia|
|Monitoring Sustainability of Globalization||Malysia|
|Trade Justice Pilipinas||Philippines|
|Woman Health Philippines, Philippines||Philippines|
|Labor Education and Research Network (LEARN) , Philippines||Philippines|
|Focus on the Global South||Thailand (regional)|
|REDES – Amigos de la Tierra||Uruguay|