Like TTIP, Ceta threatens to lock in privatisation, making renationalisation (of Britain’s railways, say) or attempts by cities to take control of failing public services (as Joseph Chamberlain did in Birmingham in the 19th century, laying the foundations for modern social provision) impossible.
It doesn’t say anything of the kind.
Here’s an example of what the cretins are actually complaining about:
One look at the practice of investment arbitration shows that concerns with regard to the respect for
human rights and environmental law during ISDS proceedings are not unfounded. Some investment
protection proceedings gave rise to conflicts with i.a. the right to health96, the right to water97 and
with general environmental rights.98 Also the current proceedings in Chevron v Ecuador99 show that
the (human) rights of third parties often receive only insufficient attention in arbitration proceedings.
In these proceedings, to which the arbitration rules of UNCITRAL100 apply and which were initiated on
grounds of a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) between the USA and Ecuador, Chevron objects to the
enforcement of a judgment by an Ecuadorian court which had convicted Chevron to a payment of
billions in damages to a group of plaintiffs.101 In several interim awards, the arbitration panel obliged
Ecuador to avert the enforcement of that judgment.102 This gave Ecuador the choice either to
interfere with the otherwise independent judiciary of the country in an unconstitutional manner or
to pay billions in penalties to Chevron. Thus the arbitration proceedings function additionally as an
authority which is de facto able to override even the decisions of the final courts of appeal103 and
which deprives the persons affected of the rights they have in legal proceedings without letting them
participate in the arbitration proceedings. The lacking consideration for the rights of third parties
who do not participate in the proceedings themselves is the focus of an intense debate in the
literature on investment protection law.104 A particular point of criticism is that such proceedings
may have the effect that states will not be able to comply with their responsibility to protect the
human rights of third parties, as investment arbitration tribunals pay no or very little attention to
these rights.105 This becomes also evident in proceedings regarding the privatisation of water. In
these cases, states claimed a duty to guarantee their own population the right to water, even if the
water supply had been privatised. Most arbitration tribunals, however, did not accept this
Ultimately, the two Vattenfall proceedings, in which the Swedish energy company sues the Federal
Republic of Germany for damages, also manifest the grave implications that arbitration proceedings
may have for matters concerning environmental law107 and how “a tension can arise between them
and the national constitution.”108 This result is shared by many authors dealing with the clash
between environmental matters and investment protection law.109 In addition, there are a number of
arbitration tribunals on the question whether environmental requirements constitute an indirect
expropriation or the violation of other investor rights. Legal practice shows that the arbitration
tribunals certainly apply a broad definition of indirect expropriation. The arbitration tribunal in the
case Metalclad v. Mexico110, for example, assumed that the prohibition to operate a landfill
constitutes an indirect expropriation.111
The Chevron case is the one where the lawyer bribed the judge and it turned out that the entire case was a complete fabrication from start to finish. Oh how terrible that ISDS provisions protected Chevron from that.
Vattenfall is even more fun. No one doubts at all that Germany can decide not to have nuclear power plants. But if at the stroke of a pen, by changing the law, you turn many billions of valuable power plant into expensive scrap then you’ve got to pay for it. Just as with all the other nationalisations and so on. You can nationalise anything you want. You’ve just got to pay for it.
That’s probably because they want to renationalise by stealing….
Paul, it can’t be stealing – you are taking from corporations. It’s only stealing if you take from the people. Non-neo-liberal people at that.
What neo-liberals might laughingly call stealing, is, when taking from neoliberal people, merely justifiably punitive rates of retrospective taxation. Because they use publicly funded infrastructure, I think?
I read the Chevron case. Actually the US judges do not say that it is all fabrication. What they said was that there was fabrication and that there was significant fraud (and corruption) in achieving the decision. This was sufficient to invalidate and stay the judgement.
Thanks, that changes everything.
I have genuinely come to the conclusion hat he anti-globalisation brigade would rather keep epolenin absolute poverty if it preserves their own postions as the charities withough whom the world would fall apart. For example, I have reading up on EU external tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade (actually to imports). Now, one would think Europe’s great charities would be in a permanent stage of outrage about this. They would, one would think, organise marches to disrupt G8 meetings, enlist Il Papa in Rome to call for a Jubilee Year of Trade etc. But no, nothing! Not when there’s a prick in a new-build in Ely whose cobbled-together non-evidential reports you can adopt and tweet to your attention-deficient members.
“Not when there’s a prick in a new-build in Ely whose cobbled-together non-evidential reports you can adopt and tweet to your attention-deficient members.”
Fabulous jibe at Ritchie aside, the ‘attention-deficient’ bit rings true.
Why do people now not take the time to understand whateverthefuck it is they are getting outraged about? Aside from the bovinity of just agreeing with whatever ‘established wisdom’ says, or the risk you make a prick of yourself in public, surely being endlessly apoplectic about things is wearying?
A bit more research would at the very least cut down upon the stress.
TTIP will never happen, CETA will never happen.
Despite the BBC’s insinuation that an EU trade agreement with Australia will precede any UK/Australia trade agreement, an EU/Australia deal will spend decades in negotiation (probably because some Bulgarian official wants a specific exclusion for children’s footwear made out of dingo pelts) before everyone gives up and goes home or the EU explodes.
‘But if at the stroke of a pen, by changing the law, you turn many billions of valuable power plant into expensive scrap then you’ve got to pay for it.’
Surely that is only true if the original contract stated that the law would remain the same or that compensation would be paid.
Otherwise it is caveat emptor.
Past experience may make you confident that the law will not change but the fact that it might would be a factor in your decision to go ahead with the investment.
Bob, as I understand it the ISDS is a way of ensuring the original contract is fairly enforced. A government can’t suddenly break a contract because they change the law. Eg the Philip Morris Hong Kong Vs Australia nonsense was that Australia and HK signed a trade deal in which it was decided that neither country would prevent the other country’s companies from displaying their logo and then with the plain packet law for cigs Australia were in breach of that deal. Australia should have thought of that before they agreed this part of the deal. I think Philip Morris lost anyway mind. It’s not that the buyer should be aware but that if he is the government can’t screw him anyway. That’s how I understand it.
Re the German nuclear plant thing, from what I gather about the current Hinkley point fiasco is that the government agree to pay for power from these plants for several decades. If they then ban nuclear power they’ve fucked the deal and in many countries you can’t trust the local courts to find against the government making ISDS necessary.
I appreciate that.
If it is in the original contract then it must be upheld by an unbiased court, however if it isn’t covered by the contract then either party can do WTF they like.
‘I didn’t think they could do that’ is no excuse.
As for Hinkley, I imagine the UK Gov. has actually signed contracts whereby we have to pay EDF and the Chinese £100bn upfront, pay for some massive buildings (whether built or not), pay for the maintenance of said buildings for 100 years, pay market price +100% for any leccy generated and also pay for any cleanup afterwards.
Compared to previous UK Gov. contract obligations (PFI) it is a bit of a bargain.
A pox on both sides.
“Free trade” that equals thousands of pages of legal bullshit that promotes corporate socialism.
The thieving scum of the left and statism.
“surely being endlessly apoplectic about things is wearying?”
Yes, but sanctimony feels good, and wins you status among fellow SJWs. The prospect of such pleasure and status spurs all SJWs to detect ever more subtle forms of discrimination and oppression – until homeopathic concentrations are reached….
“sanctimony feels good, and wins you status among fellow SJWs. The prospect of such pleasure and status spurs all SJWs to detect ever more subtle forms of discrimination and oppression – until homeopathic concentrations are reached.”
Beautifully put, Theo.
Idly wonders how many of these anti-trade campaigners were also ardent remainers.
Calgary Steve, these agreements are explicitly anti-free-trade. What is odd is that so many people who wanted out of the EU are supportive of international treaties which share so many of the EU’s worst features.
BobRocket: there are elements of EU treaty law covering taking without compensation. Whether they cover making something worthless legislatively vs. confiscating it is something I imagine would lead to a very long court case.
Bloke in Costa Rica,
‘elements of EU treaty law’
another good reason for getting out of Dodge.
An investor should make the decision to invest based on the contract whilst taking into account the risks of off-contract ‘incidents’.
A country with a history of ‘incidents’ is riskier than one with without and will find it more difficult to gain future investment without cast iron contracts.
BobRocket said: “A country with a history of ‘incidents’ is riskier than one with without and will find it more difficult to gain future investment without cast iron contracts.”
Yes. If people want their country to benefit from long term investment don’t elect shits who steal things from businesses at the drop of a hat.
International investor-state dispute tribunals are not something I favour but they do at least make for a discovery mechanism of where to be cautious about investing.
Perhaps some of the opposition to them is that it provides a feedback signal putting off investment as much as it actually seeks to protect investments.
The Vattenfall case is even more fun because it is wholly owned by the Swedish government.