Independent report on the proposed Multilateral Investment Court
Where: Anna Politkovskaya Room ASP 0A050.
Love Rönnelid, Author of the report, Harvard University
Martti Koskenniemi, Professor of International Law, University of Helsinki
Anne-Marie Mineur, MEP, The Netherlands
The report challenges some of the main arguments put forward by the European Commission to support the MIC proposal.
Key points include:
- There is no clear evidence that countries signing treaties that give special rights to investors will actually attract more foreign direct investment.
- Some of the EU’s bilateral trade agreements already contain ISDS mechanisms, but this has not led to significant problems in Europe so far because these agreements are with countries whose investors are focused on developing countries instead. As the EU creates agreements with countries like Canada, the United States and Singapore, whose investors do focus on European countries, this may lead to significant investment disputes in Europe.
- Investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms in bilateral trade deals have already been judged as incompatible with EU law by the European Court of Justice (Achmea v. Slovakia).
- The proposal gives no new legal rights to states and local communities affected by the operations of foreign investors. This contradicts the approach in most EU Member States that tries to balance investor rights with investor obligations.
- The MIC is likely to have a ‘regulatory chill’ effect, in which governments are deterred from regulating on human rights and environmental sustainability due to fear of litigation from foreign investors.
- Investment insurance, which has been proposed as a better alternative to the MIC, would also have a ‘regulatory chill’ effect, due to the fact that investment insurance is often backed by states budgets.
- Successful development strategies used by China, South Korea and Taiwan would not be possible for other developing countries if they would sign onto the Multilateral Investment Court.
- This proposal comes from a long history of European trade in which colonial investors used international agreements to gain special privileges with negative impacts on local populations.
Conference on the Multilateral Investment Court proposal
The report launch will take place amidst a high-profile conference on the Multilateral Investment Court in the European Parliament (room ASP 1G2) on the same day, featuring the author of the report and speakers from the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, international NGOs, the OECD and UNCTAD.
For further information or to arrange interviews, contact Nikki Sullings [email protected]