Screenshot - 19.02.2016 - 17:29:27The undersigned call on the US, the EU, and Canada to exclude any form of Investor-State-Dispute Settlement from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), from the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and from all other trade and investment agreements.

This week, the US and the EU will resume negotiations on investment protection in TTIP. The European Commission – claiming to have listened to public opinion – produced its proposal for a ‘new’ Investment Court System (ICS) that would allegedly replace the ‘old’ ISDS in all on-going and future investment negotiations. However, we believe that the proposed changes are just a ‘re-branding’ of the old ISDS system. The EU has not addressed the key problems of the ISDS and ICS systems both of which undermine democratic decision-making.

Crucially, the new proposal is worse than the current practice of the member states’ stand-alone investment treaties from which it is possible to withdraw: both the EU and Member States (MS) would be locked in to the TTIP and CETA. We have identified five key serious concerns that exist in both the ISDS and ICS mechanisms:

  • both ISDS and ICS give exclusive rights to foreign investors, thereby discriminating against domestic investors and communities, without any evidence of benefits to the wider society

  • both ISDS and ICS can force governments to use billions in taxpayers funds to compensate corporations for public health, environmental, labour and other public interest policies, government actions and even court rulings. They do not ensure that private interests cannot undermine public policy objectives

  • neither ISDS or ICS are subject to democratic principles and scrutiny. Parliaments will not be able to change the rules later on;

  • both ISDS and ICS undermine the jurisdiction of European and MS courts as foreign investors can by-pass them;

  • both ISDS and ICS ignore the fact that European, U.S. and Canadian legal systems are perfectly capable of handling disputes with foreign investors, based on the law that applies to everyone else in society.

The number of investor-state cases has recently sharply increased, with over 50 new claims filed annually in the last four years. The total number of known ISDS cases has now risen to 667 claims against a total of 105 countries in a diverse array of government policies, many of which are not traditional trade issues.

One example is the shocking case of Canadian pipeline developer TransCanada who is seeking to sue the US government for blocking the Keystone XL Pipeline as part of its fight against climate change. It is noteworthy that TransCanada is suing the US using four investor rights in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that are also included in CETA and the EU’s ICS proposal.

In addition, the key changes advocated by the Commission as improvements to the system in its recent proposal are riddled with legal shortcomings in two key areas: the alleged independence of the system and the alleged protection of the right to regulate.

While the introduction of so-called ‘judges’ to investment tribunals appears to be a positive step, they will be paid lucrative fees on a case by case basis providing a strong incentive to rule in favour of the investors in order to ensure future cases. This investor bias would most likely remain if the EU and its trading partners eventually introduced a regular salary for the ‘judges’ because in legal systems where only one side can sue, claimant-friendly rulings secure a steady flow of cases, power and authority for the adjudicators.

The right to regulate in the public interest does not protect against unlimited backward looking damages including expected profits and interests. It is furthermore undermined by the need for governments to take the ‘measures necessary’ to achieve ‘legitimate’ objectives leaving the criteria to define what measures are necessary and what constitutes legitimate objectives open for interpretation, and ultimately, arbitration by for-profit adjudicators. An ISDS case may not prevent legislation, but it puts a hefty price tag on any law or regulation which could potentially cost billions in taxpayer money when a government is later sued for compensation. This has already proven to create a regulatory chill such as has been witnessed in Malaysia and New Zealand who were waiting for the outcome of the Phillip Morris ISDS case against Australia before implementing similar plain packaging legislation. The EU’s claim that it has protected the ‘right to regulate’ gives a false impression of security; health, environmental and social legislation remain under threat in the EU, the US and Canada if ISDS/ICS is included in CETA and the TTIP.

While existing trade and investment treaties already severely limit the policy space that governments have, the inclusion of ISDS/ICS in CETA and TTIP would massively expand the investment arbitration system – and multiply liability and financial risks for governments on both sides of the Atlantic. ISDS in TTIP would newly empower more than 47,000 of the 51,495 US owned subsidiaries currently operating in the EU to launch ISDS attacks on European policies and government actions.

Even if TTIP did not include the far-reaching investor rights, four out of five US firms operating in the EU–that is a total of 41,811–could already become eligible for an ISDS case against the EU and its members using the CETA agreement if investments are structured accordingly. The danger of being sued under TTIP and CETA is even more real given that US, European and Canadian companies are already the most frequent users of investment arbitration. They are responsible for launching over 80 per cent of all known investor-state disputes globally. Indeed, UNCTAD’s recently updated online data shows that foreign investors launched more ISDS cases in 2015 than in any prior year — twice the number launched just five years earlier. 52% of concluded ISDS cases have ended in an outright loss for the government or a settlement with the foreign investor.

Not only would the inclusion of ISDS/ICS in CETA and TTIP most likely lead to a massive explosion of investment arbitration cases against legitimate policies; their inclusion is a massive blow to democracy, human rights and the rule of law in any trade and investment agreement.

In a time when all attention should be focused on averting a global climate catastrophe and on tackling the economic and social crises in many parts of the world, there is no space for agreements that would place giant obstacles in the way of the solutions. Governments must have the flexibility to put in place measures to protect their people and the planet without fear of expensive trade litigation being launched by corporations. If there is concern about weaknesses in domestic legal systems, we should be focusing on improving them in order to combine equal access to the law with a full capacity for the democratic scrutiny of the development of law.

We therefore cannot support the foreign investor protection proposed for TTIP and CETA, and call, again, for the exclusion of any form of Investor-State-Dispute Settlement from all current and future trade and investment agreements.

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European/International Organisations    
Compassion in World Farming    Europe
Friends of the Earth Europe    Europe
SOLIDAR    Europe
Health and Trade Network    Europe
Alcohol Policy Youth Network    Europe
Bizolutioners – evolutionary solutions for human rights problems created by business    Europe
ClientEarth    Europe
WECF    Europe
WeMove.EU    Europe
European Digital Rights (EDRi)    Europe
European Work Hazards Network    Europe
LobbyControl    Europe
SumOfUs    International
FIAN International    International

National Organisations in Europe    
Alternative und Grüne GewerkschafterInnen (AUGE/UG)    Austria
Attac Austria    Austria
Attac Flachgau    Austria
DIE LINKE    Austria
eku-konstruktiv    Austria
Erklaerung von Salzburg für solidarische Entwicklung EVS    Austria
Evangelical Association for World Mission EAWM    Austria
Gewerkschaft Öffentlicher Dienst/ Universität Salzburg    Austria
Initiativplattform TTIP stoppen Oberoesterreich    Austria
Kath. Betriebsseelsorge Salzburg    Austria
Katholische ArbeitnehmerInnen Bewegung Erzdiözese Wien    Austria
Network Social Responsibility – Netzwerk Soziale Verantwortung (NeSoVe)    Austria
SOL – Menschen für Solidarität, Ökologie und Lebensstil    Austria
Talente-Tauschkreis Salzburg    Austria
Collectif Alpha asbl    Belgium
MIG    Belgium
Réseau wallon de lutte contre la pauvreté    Belgium
11.11.11    Belgium
ATTAC Belgique    Belgium
ATTAC-Charleroi    Belgium
CGSP wallonne    Belgium
Change Partnership    Belgium
Cie D’ici P.    Belgium
Collectif Roosevelt .BE    Belgium
Corporate Europe Observatory    Belgium
Équipes Populaires    Belgium
FIAN Belgium    Belgium
FIDA – Fédération Internationale de la Diaspora Afar    Belgium
Greenpeace    Belgium
groupe CNCD local    Belgium
ISVI    Belgium
Jeunes Organises et Combatifs Bruxelles    Belgium
Left Ecological Forum    Belgium
MOC Bruxelles    Belgium
Mouvement ouvrier chrétien    Belgium
MPEVH    Belgium
Quinoa asbl    Belgium
Social Platform    Belgium
Vie Féminine    Belgium
Confederation of Labour Podkrepa    Bulgaria
Foundation for Environment and Agriculture (FEA)    Bulgaria
Solidarna Bulgaria    Bulgaria
The Bulgarian Left    Bulgaria
Za Zemiata, FoE Bulgaria    Bulgaria
Zelena Partiya Bulgaria    Bulgaria
Luridicum Remedium    Czech Republic
May Day    Denmark
The Ecological Council    Denmark
350 Finland    Finland
Animalia    Finland
Attac Finland    Finland
CRASH – Coalition for Research and Action for Social Justice and Human Dignity    Finland
Emmaus Aurinkotehdas ry    Finland
Friends of the Earth Finland    Finland
Friends of the Landless Finland    Finland
Hyvinvointivalion vaalijat ry    Finland
Maailmankauppojen liitto ry, Finnish Association of Worldshops    Finland
Parecon Finland    Finland
Physicians for Social Responsibility, Finland    Finland
Pro Ethical Trade Finland    Finland
Swallows in Northern Finland    Finland
Technology for Life NGO    Finland
TTIP Network Finland    Finland
Uusi Tuuli ry    Finland
AITEC    France
ATTAC France    France
Attac Marseille    France
Collectif Causse Méjean – Gaz de Schiste NON !    France
Collectif citoyen IDF Non aux pétroles et gaz de schiste et de couche !    France
Collectifs Isérois “STOP GHRM 38”    France
Confédération paysanne    France
COPRA    France
CPC!    France
Ecolectif Contre Gaz de Schiste Gignac et Environs 34    France
foodwatch France    France
Jeunes Ecologistes    France
Les Amis de la Terre    France
rdm.esindignées fr    France
STOP TAFTA CETA Nord Isère    France
TOX POPULI    France
Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft e.V.    Germany
Arbeitskreis Fracking Braunschweiger Land    Germany
Attac Deutschland    Germany
Attac Trägerverein e.V. Regionalgruppe Kleve    Germany
Berliner Wassertisch    Germany
BI Gemeinsam gegen Gas- und Probebohrungen am Niederrhein    Germany
BI lebenswertes Korbach e.V.    Germany
BLUE 21    Germany
Buergerinitiative kein-frack-in-wf    Germany
BUND – Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland; Friends of the Earth Germany    Germany
BUND Naturschutz in Bayern e.V.    Germany
BUND-Erfurt    Germany
Bürgerinitiative Fracking freies Hessen n.e.V.    Germany
Bürgerinitiative FrackingFreies Hamburg    Germany
Campact    Germany
Deutscher Naturschutzring (DNR)    Germany
Digitalcourage e.V.    Germany
FDCL Berlin    Germany
Foodwatch Germany    Germany
Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung    Germany
German-African Centre (DAZ)    Germany
IBD Initiative Bürger für Demokratie    Germany
Interessengemeinschaft Schönes Lünne    Germany
ISSA – information centre on southern africa    Germany
Joshua Satelitte    Germany
KMU gegen TTIP (DE)    Germany
Mehr Demokratie    Germany
Occupy Erfurt    Germany
PEGAH Wuppertal e. V.    Germany
PowerShift e.V.    Germany
TTIPunfairHandelbar    Germany
Vereinigung Demokratischer Juristinnen und Juristen e.V.    Germany
WEED – World Economy, Ecology & Develoment    Germany
Fair Trade Hellas    Greece
Naturefriends Greece    Greece
ATTAC Hungary    Hungary
Védegylet    Hungary
Attac Ireland    Ireland
Fís Nua    Ireland
Keep Ireland Fracking Free    Ireland
Fairwatch    Italy
Locale-Globale    Italy
Ž    Lithuania
Fundacja Strefa Zieleni    Poland
Institute of Global Responsibility    Poland
The Civil Affairs Institute    Poland
Oikos Cooperação e Desenvolvimento    Portugal
Plataforma Não ao Tratado TransAtlântico    Portugal
Alburnus Maior (Save Rosia Montana campaign)    Romania
Asociaţia România Vie / Romania Alive Society    Romania
EcoV    Romania
Mining Watch Romania    Romania
Terra Mileniul III Foundation    Romania
Scottish Hazards    Scotland
Center for Sustainable Rural Development Kranj    Slovenia
Društvo Bober    Slovenia
Društvo Duh časa    Slovenia
Društvo za podporo radiu Marš, socialno podjetje    Slovenia
Focus, association for sustainable development    Slovenia
Institute for Sustainable Development   Slovenia
Konfederacija sindikatov 90 Slovenije    Slovenia
Legal-oreganisational centre for NGOs    Slovenia
Mitja Krapsa s.p.    Slovenia
No Excuse Slovenia    Slovenia
Party for Ekosocialisem  and Sustainable Development of Slovenia – TRS    Slovenia
Pirate Party Slovenia    Slovenia
Political party Solidarnost, za pravično družbo    Slovenia
Puntarji, movement for active citizenship    Slovenia
Slovenian Coalition for Public Health, Environment and Tobacco Control    Slovenia
Society Movement for Sustainable Development of Slovenia – TRS    Slovenia
Umanotera    Slovenia
Zavod Svibna    Slovenia
a) UTD Slovenija    Slovenia
Obalna sindikalna organizacija Koper    Slovenia
CCOO Euskadi    Spanish State
Amigos de la Tierra    Spanish State
Andalucía No TTIP    Spanish State
Asamblea de Andalucía    Spanish State
Asamblea de Andalucía Sevilla    Spanish State
Asamblea de Cooperación por la Paz    Spanish State
Asociación Andaluza por la Solidaridad y la Paz (ASPA)    Spanish State
Association Africanist Manuel Iradier    Spanish State
ATTAC BIZKAIA    Spanish State
Attac Navarra-Nafarroa    Spanish State
ATTAC Spain    Spanish State
Campanya No al TTIP Comarques de Castelló    Spanish State
CCOO    Spanish State
CEDSALA    Spanish State
CGT-Spain    Spanish State
Círculo Podemos Mar Cangas    Spanish State
Coordinadora de Organizaciones de Agricultores y Ganaderos (COAG)    Spanish State
Colectivo para la Paz    Spanish State
Colla Ecologista d’Almassora    Spanish State
ECOAR    Spanish State
Ecologistas en Acción/Ekologistak Martxan    Spanish State
Ehttipez    Spanish State
EQUO    Spanish State
Errenteria IrabaziZ    Spanish State
Extrem Berries    Spanish State
FACUA-Consumidores en Acción    Spanish State
Front Civic    Spanish State
Fundacion Munubat    Spanish State
Ganemos Palencia    Spanish State
Gañemos Vilanova    Spanish State
ICV -Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds    Spanish State
Ingeniería Sin Fronteras País Vasco    Spanish State
Iniciativa Cambio Personal Justicia Global    Spanish State
Intersindical Alternativa de Catalunya – IAC    Spanish State
Intersindical Valenciana    Spanish State
Izquierda Unida Castilla y León    Spanish State
Komite Internazionalistak    Spanish State
kostalde    Spanish State
Lambda, col·lectiu de lesbianes, gais, transsexuals i bisexuals    Spanish State
Leganes contra el TTIP    Spanish State
Mugarik Gabe    Spanish State
Observatori del Deute en la Globalització – ODG    Spanish State
ONG Elan-Euskadi    Spanish State
ONGd    Spanish State
PACD Sevilla    Spanish State
Partido X    Spanish State
Paz con Dignidad    Spanish State
PCA Sevilla ciudad    Spanish State
Plataforma de afectados por la hipoteca de Palencia, PAH    Spanish State
Plataforma en defensa de lo público    Spanish State
Plataforma no al TTIP de Palencia    Spanish State
Plataforma no al TTIP en Sevilla    Spanish State
Plataforma por lo Püblico y Contra los Recortes    Spanish State
Podemos Andalucia    Spanish State
Podemos Sanitat Catalunya    Spanish State
Podemos Sevilla    Spanish State
Podemos Vera    Spanish State
Podemos Vilanova de Arousa    Spanish State
Procés Constituent    Spanish State
REAS Euskadi    Spanish State
SETEM Hego Haizea    Spanish State
Solidaridad Internacional Andalucía    Spanish State
Sondicalista    Spanish State
Terra SOStenible    Spanish State
Unidad Popular    Spanish State
Union Sindical Obrera (USO)    Spanish State
Vabus    Spanish State
València en Comú    Spanish State
VSF Justicia Alimentaria Global    Spanish State
Xnet    Spanish State
Friends of the Earth Sweden / Jordens Vänner    Sweden
Stichting SchalieGASvrij Haaren    The Netherlands
Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)    The Netherlands
Foodwatch Netherlands    The Netherlands
Transnational Institute (TNI)    The Netherlands
Vrijschrift    The Netherlands
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Netherlands    The Netherlands
Greater Manchester Hazards Centre Ltd.    United Kingdom
Artists Against TTIP    United Kingdom
Families Against Corporate KIllers    United Kingdom
Global Justice Now    United Kingdom
Jubilee Debt Campaign    United Kingdom
Not For Shale    United Kingdom
StopTTIP uk    United Kingdom
The Gaia Foundation    United Kingdom
UK Hazards Campaign    United Kingdom
War on Want    United Kingdom

With the support of :   
Council of Canadians    Canada
Trade Justice Network (TJN)    Canada
AmiEs de la Terre Québec    Québec
Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine- CDHAL    Québec
Eau Secours! Coalition québécoise pour une gestion responsable de l’eau    Québec
Quebec Network on Continental Integration (RQIC) and its member organisations:    Québec
Alliance du personnel professionnel et technique de la santé et des services sociaux (APTS)
Association canadienne des avocats du mouvement syndical
Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale (AQOCI)
Centrale des syndicats démocratiques (CSD)
Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ)
Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN)
Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain (CCMM-CSN)
Fédération des femmes du Québec (FFQ)
Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ)
Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ)
Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ)
Mouvement d’éducation populaire et d’action communautaire du Québec (MÉPACQ)
Réseau québécois des groupes écologistes (RQGE)
Syndicat des professionnelles et professionnels du gouvernement du Québec (SPGQ)
CesWaldorf NYC    USA
Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), Global Economy Project    USA
Electronic Frontier Foundation    USA
Fair World Project    USA
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy    USA
Just Foreign Policy    USA
Public Citizen    USA