3,000 agreements have an investor-state dispute settlement clause

Some anti-trade activists are saying that NZ should not agree to any , as it will have an investor-state dispute settlement clause in it. They would have you think that this is some new clause that will give multinationals rights to over-turn decisions by Governments.

As I previously blogged, almost every trade agreement signed by New Zealand in the last decade has an ISDS clause. Labour signed half a dozen with such a clause.

But as Brian Fallow reports, they are even more common that that:

More than 3000 bilateral investment treaties and other international agreements include ISDS.

3,000 agreements to date have such a clause!

In fact the number of agreements providing ISDS protections for foreign investors greatly exceeds the number of cases brought under them over the years.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which monitors them, by the end of last year 356 investor-state cases had been concluded, of which 37 per cent were decided in favour of the state and 25 per cent ended in favour of the investor with monetary compensation awarded.

So over the last 40 years the number of cases has been less than 10% of the number of agreements. So on average you only get one case for every 10 agreements.

I have concerns over some of the clauses proposed by the US in the TPP. But a decision on whether to support or oppose the final agreement (if there is one) should be based on what is actually in the agreement, not on scaremongering.

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