First Labour response

Christine Clifford posted in Think Left

Christine Clifford 29 January 11:45

Response from office of Claude Moraes MEP London

Thank you for your email on the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS) and the proposed EU-US trade agreement, also known as TTIP. Labour MEPs share your concerns about the issue and are actively working to prevent the inclusion of ISDS in the EU-US trade agreement.

By way of background, it is only recently that the EU has become responsible for investment policy on behalf of its Member States. Many previous agreements, including UK agreements with third countries, contain provisions for the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS). The Commission has indicated that it intends to continue the use of ISDS provisions in some EU investment agreements, notably including that with the United States. This has been at the request of national governments including the UK.

The ISDS mechanism is a provision in some investment agreements to give foreign investors legal recourse if they feel the country in which they are operating has passed discriminatory legislation. However it has become clear that it is being abused by large multinational companies to challenge any legislation that they feel goes against their interest.

In this context, Labour MEPs share your concerns at ISDS provisions being included in the proposed EU-US trade and investment agreement. We do not believe it is a necessary provision, given the recourse available to investors through the normal legal channels in both jurisdictions. Furthermore, ISDS and the lack of transparency which has traditionally surrounded it has given far too much power to corporations which are able to challenge legislation behind closed doors threatening a government’s ability to legitimately legislate on issues for the public good, including health, environmental and labour rights issues (as illustrated in the Australian tobacco case).

While Labour MEPs will continue to oppose any inclusion of ISDS in the agreement with the United States we are also working to ensure that if we are unfortunately unsuccessful, the current ISDS practice will at least be reformed. In this regard my Labour colleague on the International Trade committee David Martin MEP is currently negotiating legislation to bring more transparency and accountability to the process by, for example, requiring that ISDS cases are publically disclosed and that issues of public concern are explicitly excluded from the scope of ISDS.

You may be interested to read David Martin’s article on ISDS which was published by the Guardian online here: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/06/david-cameron-eu-us-trade-deal-investor-state-dispute-settlement

Yours sincerely,

Tulay Yilmaz
Office of Claude Moraes MEP
Member of European Parliament for London
Deputy Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party

@ClaudeMoraesMEP
http://www.claudemoraes.com

Tel: +44 (0) 207 609 5005
Email: office@claudemoraes.com
Claude Moraes is Labour Member of the European Parliament for London, Deputy Leader of the…
claudemoraes.com
Claude Moraes is Labour Member of the European Parliament�for London and Deputy Leader of the Europe…

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