Monthly Archives: July 2014

Germany’s Objections to Investor Protection in CETA and TTIP

Reports from Berlin over the weekend indicated that Germany cannot accept the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in the Canada-E.U. Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), nor in the U.S.-E.U. Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The report which created the fuss does seem to be premature as the negotiations have not been completed; there is no final text.  How does a Trade and Investment Partnership work without Investor Protection?  The initial report was at least premature.  See here.

German officials claim to be “stunned” by the press report.  See here.  But the same article confirms Germany’s position that NAFTA-type ISDS among countries with sound legal systems is superfluous.

How serious is the problem?  Will it become an impasse?  This is not the first time Germany has publicly explained its position on ISDS.  See here and here.  But the 11th hour timing is quite troublesome and E.U. officials are reluctant to change what has been agreed.

The implications of rejecting ISDS are drastic and could lead to unravelling.  See my column here.

Germany has said it wants nothing to do with independent arbitral tribunals in either TTIP or CETA passing judgement on German laws.  Both CETA and TTIP are negotiations among equals with well developed legal systems.  Germany considers its courts are good enough.

Negotiations among so many different parties are bound to be difficult – and when so many of the parties are sovereign states, one understands the difficulties involved in herding cats.

The problems will not be over with the initialing of the final text.  The ratification process by all 28 E.U. member states will be a new ball game.

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Germany throws down gauntlet in CETA investor-state negotiations

The final definitive Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), eagerly awaited since the Agreement in Principle was signed nine months ago, appears to have hit a rough patch.

News from Berlin suggest that Germany will not accept the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in CETA as they currently stand. Nor would such provisions be accepted in negotiations of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and USA.

Anti-corporate activists around the world are declaring victory, though perhaps a bit prematurely. Neither CETA nor TTIP are damaged beyond repair. But German concerns and demands cannot be ignored.

Why has this crisis emerged now? In fact, this is not a new position for Germany. It has made quite clear on several occasions it did not support the inclusion of Investor-State Dispute Settlement in the TTIP.

Read more at:

Canada and EU may have to return to bargaining table, experts suggest

“The message is that Germany … is not going to submit itself to NAFTA Type Chapter 11 investor state arbitration,” trade consultant Peter Clark said.

“In their view there is nothing wrong with German courts and foreigners should not have different rights than Germans.”

Read more at:

TPP: Trouble in paradise

Gordon Campbell of Scoop NZ and the Werewolf reviews the hurdles ahead of the Obama administration in getting TPA and passing the TPP. See his column here

Clearly, this will be no slam dunk. 

Obama cannot end run Congress with an executive order on the TPP. More about this in my next column. 

There have been suggestions that if Obama spent as much time trying to obtain Congressional support as he does jawboning other TPP leaders, he might be able to sell his trade agenda.

Perhaps, but it appears he has other fish to fry.

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TPP: Ottawa Round Simply Underwhelming

Rumours about results of the Ottawa Round justify the low expectations. 

That there will likely be another Chief Negotiators meeting (in September) and a Ministers meeting (in October) should have been blindingly obvious.

These are essentially next steps to the November Leaders meeting somewhere in Asia now that it has been recognized (or has it) that China was not the best place to declare as yet undefined victory. 

Too much spin. Too many photo ops. Too little substance. No political will. 

Move over Doha and FTAA – TPP is challenging for least credible trade initiative. 

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TPP: Japan is the key

If the TPP negotiation was a high school prom, Japan’s dance card would be full.

Without Japan, the TPP is a hollow shell, lacking critical mass.

Some in Japan claim that the U.S. needs and wants the TPP more than Japan does. This ignores the military defence sharing aspects of Obama’s Pivot to Asia. But Japanese negotiators know how to use leverage – and will.

My latest column here, addresses the state of play going into the Ottawa Round and identifies potential problems.

Back to the negotiating venue. More to come.

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TPP visits Ottawa

When is a Round not a Round? When the TPP ringmasters want to avoid consultation.

The Ottawa Round, a round in everything but name, has descended on Ottawa. The usual cone of silence rules apply.

Official Opposition trade critic, Don Davies, MP seized the advantage and spoke at length to Inside U.S. Trade. The result – Inside U.S. Trade feature status for the Official Opposition and official silence for the Government.

Where is the TPP coming from? My views are here:

The TPP: Doomed to fail?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership – State of play

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is spinning its wheels

Where is it going – please see the next post.

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