People who are very keen for the UK to strike its own trade deals around the world may not be very familiar with the Investor -State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system.
This enables corporations who are party to these trade deals to use tribunals to sue governments who have national legislation in place to benefit their citizens and preserve environmental and health standards, but which may affect corporation profits when they seek to take advantage of their new trade access.
- Oil and gas company Lone Pine who is suing the Canadian government for £900 million over a moratorium they have against fracking in Quebec;
- Swedish energy corporation Vattenfall sued Germany over the environmental restrictions on one of its coal-fired power plants which was settled by Germany weakening its environmental standards;
- Anglian Water sued Argentina for freezing water rates during Argentina’s financial crisis and cancelling its water contract due to poor service. Anglia won the case and was awarded £13 million.
Developing countries can be particularly at risk if they try to retain some national protections which can be challenged by corporations, resulting in large payments to lawyers and companies which could be better spent on services benefiting its citizens.
In the light of these unjust decisions a number of countries are now refusing to sign trade agreements which include ISDS provisions.
Follow the link to the Global Justice petition calling for no UK trade deals to be signed which include any recourse to the ISDS system: