This ISDS stuff in international treaties

You know this fuss about investor state dispute settlement systems? Every lefty shouting that it’s appalling that a company should be able to take a government to a neutral court?

Here’s why they exist:

Acacia has strongly denied the charges, and last week served ‘notices of arbitration’ on two of its three gold mines in the country. These notices mean it can seek intervention at the London Court of International Arbitration if Tanzania tries to rip up its original contracts with the company.

It came after Tanzania’s parliament rubber-stamped three new laws that could allow it to dissolve the underlying contracts held by natural resources producers in the country and block companies from seeking international arbitration.

Now you could say that’s absolutely terrible, why shouldn’t Tanzanian courts hear such issues? Well, because the Tanzanians are talking bollocks on this:

Acacia has been in open dispute with the government of Tanzania since March, when the country banned the export of powdered gold concentrate, which represents about a third of its output.

The government subsequently accused Acacia of under reporting the amount of concentrate it exports by a factor of 10, essentially amounting to a multi-billion dollar fraud dating back years.

Bollocks, entire bollocks, as Maya Forstater points out.

Something I should perhaps point out. CGdev were the people who published Alex Cobham’s (yes, he now of TJN) entirely bollocks report about Zambian copper prices and Glencore. Something uncovered by Maya. They retracted that study when it was pointed out that it was bollocks. And since then have rather made amends by employing Maya to police such bollocksy claims. There was also an encouragement to Cobham to, ahem, move along now. Bollocks not being a useful output of a group that wishes to be taken seriously.

But that is why ISDS exists. Because governments do indeed sometimes prosecute bollocks in their own courts.

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