What is ISDS

ISDS is the abbreviation for investor-state dispute settlement. Translated into German, the term "investor-state dispute resolution" means. It is an instrument of international law and already enshrined in numerous agreements. European states have concluded around 1400 bilateral investment agreements that include ISDS. Worldwide there are loud Attac Austria more than 3300 of such agreements. CETA also includes ISDS and ISDS was also part of the TTIP negotiations.

ISDS - special right for corporations

ISDS, this is almost an exclusive right of action for investors. ISDS allows international corporations to sue states for damages when they believe that new laws reduce their profits.
The danger thereby: Laws can be prevented by corporations, since the policy does not want to risk lawsuits. The Environmental Institute of Munich, for example, writes: "Investment protection creates special rights for international corporations. He gives them a sharp weapon to enforce their particular interests against democracy. "Alexandra Strickner, trade expert at Attac Austria, is convinced:" ISDS endangers legislation in the public interest, because it provides new laws with a price label. As examples show, this may mean that new laws in the public interest are not introduced at all (or only to a lesser extent) because of libel threats, or that citizens must use their tax money to "compensate" corporations for lost profits. This benefits only for international companies. They can bypass national courts and get rights that no one else in society has. "

A discontinued model?

However, the system is coming under increasing pressure worldwide - and politics are reacting in part: countries such as India, Ecuador, South Africa, Indonesia, Tanzania and Bolivia have already terminated such agreements. Italy has dropped out of the Energy Charter Treaty, which also includes the ISDS mechanism. In the renegotiated version of the North American trading zone NAFTA there will be no ISDS between the US and Canada. The ECJ has ruled that ISDS is not compatible with EU law between EU countries (most of the agreements are pre-EU enlargement). At the beginning of January, 22 EU member states declared 2019 the end of ISDS between EU states: about 190 of such agreements would be affected. 2017 got loud United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for the first time terminated more investment agreements with ISDS than completed new ones. But further ISDS agreements with Vietnam and Mexico have been negotiated and now have to be approved by the EU institutions. In addition, negotiations on investment agreements are currently underway between the EU and Japan, China and Indonesia.

ISDS: The wrong-doing system of corporations

How corporations flatten democracy - explained in 180 seconds More and more corporations are using a special way to fight democratic decisions: ISDS (InvestorState Dispute Settlement). They sue states for billions of dollars before private, secret arbitration tribunals. It is not independent judges that decide, but lawyers close to the group who earn a lot from the proceedings and ignore the judgments of constitutional courts.

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Written by Karin Bornett

Freelance journalist and blogger in the Community option. Technology-loving Labrador smoking with a passion for village idyll and a soft spot for urban culture.

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